Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced a bill, House Resolution 2532, that could lead to a near-complete ban on hunting grizzly bears in all of the United States except for Alaska. The bill remains in consideration by the Water, Oceans and Wildlife committee.
The new legislation would impanel a Grizzly Bear Scientific Committee that would determine if a person can request a permit to use lethal force to kill a grizzly bear. Permits would only be issued in extreme circumstances.
“Congressman Grijalva’s legislation is a near total ban on the take of a grizzly bear regardless of need. His bill is so full of red tape and hoops to jump through that a state has virtually no hope of eliminating a dangerous bear,” said Bruce Tague, the Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president of government affairs.
“Further, HR 2532 ignores the scientific feedback from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state fish and wildlife agencies who have concluded that grizzly bear numbers have exceeded their recovery goals in many parts of their range,” said Tague.
Under the proposed system, the Secretary of the Interior would have the sole authority to issue grizzly bear permits, taking the matter completely out of states’ hands. The committee would review each request on a case-by-case basis.
The proposal would enlist 18 members to review cases. Six of the members would come from states with grizzly bear populations, another six would come from Native American tribes from the same regions and the remaining six would represent agencies within the Department of the Interior.
Permits to take grizzly bear will only be issued for scientific or zoological purposes, tribal purposes pertaining to religious ceremonies, and in cases where a specific bear is posing a threat to public safety or agriculture such as ranching or farming.
Even in public safety cases permits to use lethal force would only be allowed if non-lethal methods were tried and failed. For instance, if a grizzly bear is threatening a human population, wildlife management must first try non-lethal animal control methods to relocate the bear to a less populated area, and if that fails, a special lethal force request must be endorsed by every Native American tribe in the region as well as the state’s governor in writing.
The bill expressly forbids all forms of grizzly bear hunting for sport and violators of the new law would be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as a person who killed an animal on the Endangered Species List.
Due to the severe penalties associated with the bill as well as the near-complete ban on killing grizzly bears the Sportsmen’s Alliance is calling on its members to take action against this proposal along with hunters and outdoors enthusiasts everywhere.
The bill was introduced last month and was heard by the committee on May 15. We will keep you up-to-date on the progress of this far-reaching legislation.