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Trophy hunts for Yellowstone grizzlies after delisting

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Rep. Sam Krone R-Cody told the Associated Press Wyoming will act "quickly" to open trophy hunts for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region once the great bears are delisted, which is expected to occur later this year or in 2015. Krone is on a Wyoming legislative committee with oversight on wildlife issues.

Grizzly bears will not be hunted in Yellowstone Park, however, trophy hunts will occur outside the park in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Grizzly population numbers for the Yellowstone region are disputed, which means grizzly bear deaths could exceed mortality limits and cause a population decline. Current mortality limits are 15% of adult male grizzlies, 9% of adult female grizzlies, and 9% of cubs and yearlings. In 2012, government population estimates said there were 163 adult male grizzlies in the population, with a mortalitly limit of 24 adult males. What if the government's population estimates are wrong, and there are actually just 96 adult males? Kill 24 adult males, and you've wiped out 25% of the adult male grizzlies, not 15%. It won't take long before the population plummets, especially if the population guesstimate on adult female grizzlies in incorrect.

The Yellowstone Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team does not use the best available science--DNA based research--to get accurate grizzly population numbers. Instead, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team uses questionable methodology to count the number of female grizzlies with cubs of the year. That number is fed into a computer, and the Study Team extrapolates that X number of females with cubs = Y number of bears in the total population.

To facilitate delisting of grizzlies in 2014 or 1015, the Study Team changed its formula for extrapolating in 2012, and the overall population increased from 610 bears to 718 bears--on paper. That's a 17% increase--on paper. Only a DNA based population study can provide trustworthy numbers.

To facilitate delisting of Yellowstone grizzlies in 2007, the Study Team changed its formula for extrapolating, and the overall grizzly population increased by 36%--on paper.

The grizzly bears in current government Yellowstone population estimates are merely computer-generated "paper" bears, but the grizzly bears killed by trophy hunters will be very bloody real.

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