A judge is expected to make a ruling this week on whether the first grizzly bear hunting season to be held in the Lower 48 states in more than four decades will open as scheduled on Saturday outside Yellowstone National Park. …
The threatened species designation doesn’t apply to Alaska, where bear hunts are held each spring and fall and the population numbers about 30,000. There, fall hunters carrying high-powered rifles track grizzlies, also called brown bears, through areas with good food sources as the bears look to fatten up before they settle in their dens for winter.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first declared success in Yellowstone in 2007, but a federal judge ordered protections to remain in place while wildlife officials studied whether the decline of a major food source, whitebark pine seeds, could threaten the bears’ survival.
In2017, the federal agency concluded that it had addressed that and all other threats, and ruled that the grizzlies living across 19,000 square miles (49,210 square kilometers) of the Yellowstone area in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming were no longer a threatened species.