Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks recently participated in the fall NCDE grizzly bear meetings. In the meetings, each of the bear managers presents to the committee on what happened during the year.  FWP Region 2 Bear Manager Jamie Jonkel says they discussed the idea of delisting grizzly bears.

“All the ducks are lined up,” said Jonkel. “Right now, we have to have the draft conservation strategies completed before it can actually be delisted. That is the last big thing that needs to be accomplished. The science is there. The interest is there. Now we just have to come up with the conservation strategies document.”

According to Jonkel, that document will be worked on during the winter and he wouldn’t be surprised if they take a run at delisting in 2018. However, not everyone is in favor of delisting grizzly bears.

“The issue of hunting is a big one,” Jonkel said. “There are a lot of folks that just do not want to see this animal hunted, but there will be some hunting. The other big issue is the connectivity between the two populations, the Yellowstone population and the northern continental divide population. Folks will want to ensure that there is good habitat protection and good linkage.”

Jonkel says most Montanans are supportive of hunting, but he believes they are in the minority when it comes to this issue.