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MT Grizzly Advisory Council forms draft guidance should there ever be a grizzly bear hunt

Posted at 8:04 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 10:04:31-04

HELENA — The Governor’s Grizzly Bear Advisory Council (GBAC) wrapped their most recent meeting in Helena on Wednesday with still no consensus on the role of hunting in regards to grizzly bears.

The group was able to compromise to include hunting in a separate section of the document, which allows them to provide guidance to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) on any potential hunt while ensuring opposing viewpoints were equally represented.

A paragraph will lead the section explaining the diverse viewpoints on the topic of hunting grizzlies, and why a consensus couldn't be formed.

The draft guidelines include: protecting female grizzlies with young from any hunt, model a non-refundable draw for tags similar to moose and bighorn sheep and have dynamic season closure.

Trina Jo Bradley, GBAC member and Vallier area rancher, told MTN News this was one of the most difficult conversations for the group.

“We knew this was going to be hard, and I think that we’ve come to some kind of an agreement that we can all live with while still getting the pertinent information to the Governor's Office,” said Bradley.

We asked MTN viewers if they thought hunting should be a part of grizzly bear management and conservation.

Of the respondents, 74% thought there should be some form or hunting while 26% thought hunting shouldn’t be considered.

Gov. Steve Bullock established the 18 member advisory council last year to help the state set a long-term plan for management and conservation of the species.

The document GBAC is compiling will be a tool for FWP and elected officials to use.

The council is expected to wrap up their recommendations and present them to the Governor’s Office in August.