Environment

Got A Spare Bear To Kill?

Guest Opinion
By INNA PATRICK, Ph.D.

The proposal to hunt a lonesome male grizzly bear in Eastern Idaho is not in the public interest. There is no scientific proof that killing a single bear is “wildlife management.” It certainly is not a hunting season.

Idaho F&G does not want to provide protected habitat for large predators such as bears and wolves, because the position of the State is pro-development. This is how we ended up being the fastest growing state in the nation this year.

Idaho Fish and Game proposes to shoot a single grizzly bear as he or she ventures out of the protection afforded by the Yellowstone National Park. That’s akin to fishing at the mouth of the fish hatchery or shooting tame pheasants as they are released from cages (some call that hunting).

I visited Yellowstone National Park four times. While dining at the Lodge, the guests were informed of passing bears. Most diners jumped up and left their dinners to go outside. That speaks tons about us. Our food is plentiful, but our wildlife is scarce.

The population of Grizzly Bears before European settlers arrived in North America is estimated at 50,000 to 100,000. Now, there are about 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone area, and a few dozen in Idaho. Does that mean Idaho has one “extra” grizzly? I think tens of thousands of them are missing from America’s lands.Tens of years and millions of public dollars went into the species recovery effort. To now allow hunting, is to destroy the public investment in the program, destroy the public trust in Idaho’s ability to manage the grizzlies, and to betray the public interest in keeping our wildlife not just recovering, but thriving.

It will cost the state less to keep the grizzly protected, than to manage the grizzly program while allowing hunting. Most people in Idaho do not benefit from hunting grizzlies.
A F&G survey found there are twice as many wildlife watchers as hunters. Idaho’s tourism promotions don’t say “Come see dead bears”. They show images of Idaho’s pristine nature. Most tourists want to see the part of Idaho that has been preserved by its thoughtful people, not a dead bear.

Idaho’s Senator Risch recently tried to oppose the naming of the White Clouds Wilderness area for the legendary Idahoan Cecil Andrus. What I take from that story, is that the only thing that Risch will be remembered for is poor judgement and rude behavior. Andrus’ name will live on as an environmentalist and outdoorsman.

Fish and Game biologists will present proposed grizzly bear hunting season options for Commission action at a May 10 meeting in McCall. One can only hope they have good judgement and value the grizzly as part of our pristine environment just as Andrus did.

I ask the Fish and Game Commissioners to be the leaders that Idaho needs, and to keep the grizzlies protected. The ONLY potential justification to a grizzly hunt would be “rogue bears” who attack humans or livestock.

Let the beauty and abundance of Idaho be perpetual.

EDITOR NOTE–You can see the proposed regulations and answer a F&G survey HERE. It would appear to the GUARDIAN that administration of the application process, returning fees to those hunters not selected for the single permit, and related meetings would far outweigh any costs recouped by a license fee.

Comments & Discussion

9 comments for “Got A Spare Bear To Kill?”

  1. Butch and his pals in office way to long. What do the upcoming candidates think about this bear hunt?

  2. Judy Fisher
    Apr 22, 2018, 3:20 pm

    Beautifully written, thank you for this post!

  3. Thrill to kill whether it be to a defenseless child in school, a worshiper in a church, or a bear fishing for its dinner – it seems to be everywhere. Always has been here, just seems to be more contagious now.

  4. The opinion starts with a lie and tries to build a house of cards on it.

    Hunting is the most efficient and effective management tool for animal populations. Putting a single grizzly bear on it allows for a shakeout of the processes and application of scientific studies. The numbers will increase or decrease based off facts.

  5. I oppose a grizzly hunt, they should be protected for now given their few numbers.

    I am proud to carry a hunting and fishing permit although I do neither. That is my contribution to support the F&G and their conservation and wildlife management efforts.

    My advice to those who oppose the grizzly hunt is to buy a hunting and/or fishing license, write to the F&G, including you permit number and say you oppose the proposed grizzly hunt. The vast majority of the budget for F&G is from the sales of permits, tags, and federal taxes on hunting and fishing gear. There is no such permit for who watch wildlife nor are there Idaho taxes going to F&G, so it is hard to fault to the F&G when their policies tend to reflect the interests of those who fund their department.

    This is not unique to F&G, what politician does not accept campaign funds from those with special interests? both sides of the aisle do it, and many companies contribute to both sides to hedge their bets. The reality is opening your wallet or purse is more effective than opening your mouth when it comes to public policy. This is not a good thing, but it is the reality. My strategy of buying a hunting permit and opening my mouth, does both.

    @ Karo: Giving you the benefit of the doubt that your comment is very general in nature and not meant to draw a comparison between hunters and mass murderers. I also think there are a lot of rural families who depend on hunting season for protein in the winter freezer, they are no different than those of us who buy meat in the grocery store, they are just one step closer to the process. I do not think it is fair to lump all hunters into the thrill to kill group, not that you did, but some do.

  6. “The ONLY potential justification to a grizzly hunt would be “rogue bears” who attack humans or livestock.”

    That statement is more nonsense than the idea of someone harvesting a bear ONLY for the hide/skull trophy.

    “Rogue bears”????
    really?

    “Hey, Mama Bear, protecting your cubs from the intruding hiker, you sure are a ROGUE bear for doing what you supposed to do.”
    Death by hunting to you, Mama Bear!

    And death to Papa Bear too for snacking on that morsel lamb!
    “Dilly, Dilly!” shouted the crowd.

    Sounds like Dr. Patrick hates bears for “being bears” and that is an acceptable reason to kill one!

  7. "Rogue Bears"
    Apr 23, 2018, 2:42 pm

    For anybody offended by that term, it is already legal to kill grizzly if it is threatening your life or your livestock.
    Easterner should go after rogue politicians.

  8. idahocrystal
    Apr 23, 2018, 3:21 pm

    I can’t help but think there’s more than a little irony in this opinion letter, especially considering the number one killer of grizzly (and black) bears in and around YNP are the vehicles driven by the multitudes of “watchers”.

    If we consider that YNP officials have stated that bear population density in the greater Yellowstone area has been self-maintained at what they consider to be at capacity for many years, and the NPS is not opposed to FWS delisting grizzly bears, that should indicate to all concerned that delisting and allowing controlled depredation can be a viable solution to preventing future problems for both, people and bears.
    https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearesa.htm

  9. Hot off the press
    Apr 28, 2018, 9:23 pm

Post a comment

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address:

Categories