Grizzly Hunts in Wyoming?
According to a report in the Casper Star-Tribune the first week of October by environmental reporter, Whitney Royster, people looking to hunt grizzly bears in Wyoming have inched closer.

U.S. Senator Craig Thomas from Wyoming, this past week has urged Interior Secretary Gale Norton to move foward on a petition to remove the grizzly from the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

The delisting of the grizzly has been slowed by all the events occurring lately in Washington D.C.

The petition is asking that hunters in the greater Yellowstone area have a limited season on grizzlies to keep their numbers in check.

"Interior has been sitting on this proposal, and Wyoming deserves to know about the timing," Thomas, R-Wyoming, said in a news release after his Monday conversation with Norton. "The bear is a good example of what's wrong with the Endangered Species Act. If it's recovered, then let's get a deadline set to sign the delisting rule. I told her that I understood that the Fish and Wildlife Service had put forth a very good plan, but that it seems to be stuck in the pipe."

Thomas said Norton indicated Monday there are still "concerns" in the Interior Department with the grizzly bear delisting petition. Norton did not detail those concerns. Speculation indicates the Interior Department could be concerned with state grizzly management plans, U.S. Forest Service plans or possible litigation.

John Emmerich, assistant chief of the wildlife division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said litigation is probably going to happen anyway, but he didn't know what Interior's "concerns" were.

He said he understood the delisting petition to be sitting with Norton, after being approved by others in the federal department.

"We don't know the concerns or the timeline," Emmerich said. He said Game and Fish has done "everything we've been asked to do," and local U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers have done everything they can do.

"Everything is in place," Emmerich said.

Game and Fish officials have said if no delisting petition is put forward by February, the state agency will reconsider its options in bear management.

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