Groups including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club say the 65 grizzlies that died in 2018 didn’t need to. They sent a letter to state officials urging them to act.
Some of the deaths were accidents: hunters who misidentified a grizzly for a black bear. Grizzly hunting is illegal, after a federal judge restored Endangered Species Act protections for the species in the fall. Others happened when hunters came across a grizzly unintentionally, and then shot it legally in self-defense. And then some bears were killed by ranchers because of conflict with their livestock.
The groups want officials in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana to come up with recommendations to reduce the number of these conflicts. Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity says one idea is to encourage deer or elk hunters to carry bear spray, and to have it at the ready in case they come across an unsuspecting grizzly. She also thinks better training of hunters to help them distinguish the difference between grizzlies and black bears could help.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio