Commission approves new regs, no griz hunt

Regs for 2018-19 were OK'd Thursday. The new rules include a permit-only hunt area near the Fisher River east of Libby. In part of Hunting District 103 only five buck permits will be available in the area. Applications for the permits are due March 15.

The commission also decided against holding griz hunt this year following the delisting of the bear under the Endangered Species Act. Commissioners expressed concern that allowing a hunt might fuel legal efforts to overturn the delisting decision. Wyoming will likely approve a hunt this year. It's unclear what Idaho will do.

The formula approved by the feds for Montana griz hunting would have allowed for one female and six male grizzly bears to be killed. Commissioner Shane Cotton suggested other states were "tilting at windmills" by pursuing hunts.

Griz hunting in windy Wyoming remains a contentious topic. Human-griz encounters in Park County (Wyo.) seem to be on the rise and building a bear-proof fence at the county dump has become a source of friction for hunting advocates and opponents.

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