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Will Idaho hunters get a crack at grizzlies?

Photo Credit: harrycollinsphotography

Will Idaho hunters get a crack at grizzlies?

By Jordan Breshears

The age-old battle for true conservation continues, those who disguise themselves as “animal rights activists” are relentless and won’t back down an inch. Truth and science are not headliners or even part of their equations. If they were, there would be something to agree on and we would be managing apex predators with true balance by implementing management models that are proven and time tested.

            What is new with grizzly bears in Idaho? Well, this past spring IDFG petitioned the US. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the species. With a conservative estimate of 200 plus grizzlies, the Gem state has plenty of bears to argue management at a state level. However, Idaho’s request was denied. Yep you read that correctly. While the Fed’s said they would continue review for Wyoming and Montana, they flat out shut Idaho down. So now what? Glad you asked, Idaho notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service of their intent to sue the agency. Facts are facts, science is science. We are in a political battle and that is a sad ordeal. As with anything there needs to be a balance. Predators, ungulates, birds, small mammals, even rodents and insects! Balance provides a healthy ecosystem. And allows for ALL aspects of the system to prosper and be enjoyed. Whether you harvest animals for food, or only watch from the lens of your camera or optics this success should be the goal for both sides. The contrast to natural balance is chaos and that is ultimately ugly! Only one broken link and the dominoes effect is real. In this example grizzlies are gaining ground fast. They have very few natural enemies, one of which is man, but in our world, we are no longer a threat and the bears know that. This results in zero fear in these bears. Like humans, animals have generational adaptations, one of which is the fear of man. This fear is necessary for a healthy population of many species. But is especially true for predators! When we lose fear we invite human/animal interactions that are not healthy in any way. Sure, it makes for good backyard photos or neat encounters at a park. But these encounters often result in the animal being killed due to aggressive displays of behavior and more humans being threatened and or killed as well. Long story shorter, we can see that a healthy fear of man is beneficial for bears. Additionally, population control is necessary, in order to maintain healthy numbers of prey species. Stable and or growing numbers of ungulates are important as well and this cannot be overlooked for the sake of an apex predator’s “status”.  State run management allows for these things to become reality again. The sooner we establish this critical step to our Rocky Mountain eco-system the better. If we want our younger generations to enjoy the land and all that goes with it, then we need to keep speaking up and pushing back with truth and science!

            If you are curious what this would look like for the management of grizzlies; there are three primary states involved: Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Each would have a collaborative management plan, yes with it’s own rules, but ultimately a plan that maintains a healthy management objective as to not overharvest animals in the overall management area. As mentioned before, creating a “Balanced” system. We have seen this successfully implemented many times before. For ungulates and for predator species such as wolves. There are no concerns for wolves being overharvested with previous and current management plans. This is because sportsmen and sportswomen are the true conservationists in North America and ultimately, we want to see healthy balance in our wild spaces!

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