The National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International - a sport hunting group - joined forces this week to intervene in a lawsuit. The groups want to make sure their members are allowed to hunt grizzly bears in the three-state region around Yellowstone National Park but not within the park itself.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took grizzly bears off the endangered species list in July. Management of the bears was turned over to the state, and now Wyoming is considering allowing trophy hunting of the bears. Conservation groups have sued to restore protections of grizzlies, barring trophy hunts.
Safari Club International litigation counsel Doug Burdin said as soon as the states determine that the hunt would be sustainable, hunting should become legal.
“Whether it would help with management to target problem bears,” said Burdin. “It might depend on food sources for the upcoming season. If the food sources are good the state might expect higher population and have a more liberal hunting.”
Additionally, Burdin said hunting of grizzly bears would be good for the local economy, because hunters coming from other parts of Wyoming and around the country to hunt would spend money on lodging and food.
An estimated 700 grizzly bears live in and around Yellowstone National Park. This fall there has been an increase of human-bear interactions.