Conservation groups alleged yesterday that Wyoming used part of Montana's grizzly bear hunting quota to increase its own allocation for a proposed hunt this year, even though Montana wildlife regulators voted not to give away any part of its quota.
But today Wyoming Game and Fish Department official Dan Thompson says he may have misstated that Wyoming was taking a portion of Montana's grizzly bear hunt allocation to set its own quotas.
Wyoming's proposal for its first grizzly hunt in decades sets a quota of two female and 10 male grizzlies, rounding up from the state's fractional allocation of slightly less than those numbers of bears.
Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity says at an April 12th public meeting in Pinedale, a Wyoming game and fish representative told her several times that Montana had shared part of its allocation.
“(He told me that) Montana had agreed to give them a fraction of the allocation so that they could round those numbers up allowing them to take 10 males and 2 females,” she says.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club argue that states shouldn't be able to borrow from one another to increase their quotas, and that Wyoming should only be allowed one female bear in the proposed hunt.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Greg Lemon said today there was no agreement with Wyoming to reduce the Montana allocation, and that the issue of rounding up those fractional numbers is unaddressed in the three-state agreement for managing grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. officials lifted federal protections last year for the approximately 700 bears living in the region.
Several lawsuits are pending that challenge the decision to turn over management of grizzlies to the states.