Grizzly agreement proposed
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
August 4, 2009
Wildlife management agencies from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are proposing to enter into a memorandum of agreement to coordinate harvest of grizzly bears by hunters.
According to the draft MOU, "The purpose of this MOU is to define the process by which the Parties will coordinate annual efforts to develop recommendations for the allocation of discretionary mortality, if any, of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for hunting consistent with the Final Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area and state management plans."
The MOU notes: "The Final Conservation Strategy for Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area establishes maximum allowable mortality limits for adult male and female, as well as dependent young, grizzly bears in the ecosystem to ensure the entire population maintains an overall growth rate equal to, or greater than zero. The Conservation Strategy incorporates state management plans that have different, but compatible, management objectives for the three state parties. Specifically, the state of Wyoming’s objective is to limit further expansion of the population in size and distribution per "Grizzly Bear Occupancy Management Following Delisting as a Threatened Species" (2005). The states of Idaho and Montana have an objective of allowing the population to expand into biologically suitable and socially acceptable areas."
The MOU states: "The Parties are committed to minimizing the amount of grizzly bear mortality due to conflict with human activities and defense of life and property or other management removals, collectively referred to as "non-discretionary mortality." To the extent non-discretionary mortality can be held below the maximum allowable levels for the entire Yellowstone population, "discretionary mortality" outside of the National Parks could be available for allocation to other purposes, including translocation to other ecosystems, or hunter harvest as provided for in the Conservation Strategy, state plans, state laws, and regulations."
The three state wildlife agencies are expected to sign the MOU within the next month or so.