The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be hosting meetings to solicit public comment on Yellowstone grizzly management.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, the meetings will start next week and run through early December. There will be eight sessions total.
Wyoming, along with Montana and Idaho, was one of three states to assume management of the Greater Yellowstone grizzly population this summer after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the Endangered Species List. Of those three states, Wyoming has the largest share of grizzlies.
The decision to transfer management duties to the states has prompted concern and protest from a variety of groups, who argue the decision is premature. Some opponents states like Wyoming will institute a trophy-hunting season on bears, which they argue would be detrimental to the grizzly’s long-term survival.
A coalition of environmental groups sued the USFWS earlier this year, arguing the delisting decision did not use the best available science. A coalition of Native American tribes filed their own suit against the agency, arguing the decision violates their religious beliefs.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has not definitively said whether they would establish a hunting season, although the state was required to draft one for submission to the USFWS. From the Tribune:
“We’re sitting down to talk about grizzly bears,” said Dan Thompson, large carnivore section supervisor for the department. “Now that we are managing grizzly bears, we want to get the public’s input on what we should do and how we should move forward.”
The Game and Fish Commission updated the department’s grizzly bear management plan, and biologists will be guided by those details. The public meetings will allow people to ask questions about the plan and offer feedback, according to a release sent by the department.
The meetings will be held around the state of Wyoming. You can see the full schedule below:
• November 8, 6 p.m., Game and Fish Office, Casper
• November 8, 7 p.m., Game and Fish Office, Laramie
• November 9, 6 p.m., Game and Fish Office, Sheridan
• November 15, 6 p.m., Virginian Lodge, Jackson
• November 16, 6 p.m., Game and Fish Office, Pinedale
• November 29, 6 p.m., Game and Fish Office, Green River
• November 30, 6:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Cody
• December 4, 6 p.m., The Inn at Lander, Lander