Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced today, May 5, that they have prepared draft plans for possible grizzly bear hunting seasons in the future. FWP Communications Director Ron Aasheim explained what those plans look like as of now.

"And there were seven bear management units, is what we're calling them, scattered around the Yellowstone ecosystem," Aasheim said. "All the bear hunting, if there ever is bear hunting, assuming there is, would be in the country north of Yellowstone National Park. So it would run pretty much southern and central part of the state, basically. That's the best way to describe it."

The FWP Commission will discuss these tentative plans in meetings next Thursday. Aasheim said the plans are part of a list of requirements of regulatory agencies that have been asked to show how they will respond if grizzly bears are taken off the Endangered Species List.

"States of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are required to have what they call 'regulatory mechanisms' in place, assuming that the bear is delisted. One of those is how we would handle hunting seasons, if, in fact, we did have hunting seasons," Aasheim said. "There's no guarantee that we will have one. But we want to have those in place, as is required, in the event that the bear is delisted."

Aasheim was pretty certain that there would be no grizzly bear hunting in Montana this year and says that if the wolf delisting is a good precedent, we probably won’t see grizzly bear hunting for at least another two to four years.