(1) Whereas, the Montana fish and game commission has management authority for the
grizzly bear, a resident wildlife species, and is dedicated to the preservation
of grizzly bear populations within the state of Montana; and
the secure habitat for the grizzly has been greatly reduced as a result of the
human development and population growth from 1850 through 1950 in the bear's
traditional range in all western states; and
a significant portion of the remaining grizzly bear habitat and population is
located in Montana and these Montana populations occur in wildlands such as
wilderness, primitive areas, de facto wilderness areas, national forests,
national parks, Indian reservations, and seasonally, on adjacent private lands.
in order to promote the preservation of the grizzly bear in its native habitat,
the commission establishes the following policy guidelines for the Montana
department of fish, wildlife, and parks action when dealing with grizzly bear.
(a) Habitat. The department shall work to
perpetuate and manage grizzly bear in suitable habitats of this state for the
welfare of the bear and the enjoyment of the people of Montana and the nation.
In performing this work the department should consider the following:
(i) the commission has the responsibility for
the welfare of the grizzly and advocates the protection of the bear's habitat;
(ii) management of Montana's wildlands, including
the grizzly bear habitat, is predominantly, but not exclusively, a responsibility
of various federal agencies and private landowners;
(iii) land use decisions made by these agencies
and individuals affect grizzly bear habitat, thus cooperative programs with
these agencies and individuals are essential to the management of this species;
(iv) preservation of wildlands is critical to the
protection of this species and the commission advocates wildland preservation
in occupied grizzly bear habitat; and
(v) while some logging may not be detrimental to
grizzly habitat, each logging sale in areas inhabited by grizzly bear should be
carefully reviewed and evaluated.
(b) Research. It is recognized by the commission that research on the habitat
requirements and population characteristics of the grizzly bear is essential
of the species. Departmental research programs and proposals directed at
defining those habitat requirements, are encouraged and supported.
(c) Hunting and recreational use. The commission
recognizes its responsibility to consider and provide for recreational
opportunities as part of a grizzly bear management program. These
opportunities shall include sport hunting, recreational experiences, aesthetics
of natural ecosystems, and other uses consistent with the overall welfare of
(i) The department should consider the
variability of values between individuals, groups, organizations, and agencies
when management programs for various grizzly bear populations are developed.
(ii) Sport hunting is considered the most
desirable method of balancing grizzly bear numbers with their available
habitat, minimizing depredations against private property within or adjacent to
grizzly bear habitat, and minimizing grizzly bear attacks on humans.
(d) Depredations. Contacts between grizzly bear
and humans, or property of humans, require delicate handling and careful
consideration. When these contacts reach the stage for definite action, the
following actions should be carried out:
(i) Grizzly bear, in the process of threatening
or endangering human life, shall be captured or dispatched immediately.
(ii) Where no immediate threat to human life
exists, individual bear encounters with humans shall be evaluated on a case-by-case
basis and when the attack is abnormal or apparently unprovoked, the individual
bear involved shall be captured or dispatched.
(iii) When the attack is normal (e.g., a female defending her cubs, any bear
defending its food, or any bear defending itself) but the situation leads
itself to no reasonable possibility of leaving the bear in place, then the bear
should be removed.
(iv) Grizzly bear committing depredations that do
not directly endanger human life but that are causing property losses shall be
evaluated on an individual case basis.
(v) Where removal is determined to be the best
resolution to the problem, depredating or nuisance bear shall be trapped, and
if determined to be suitable for transplanting, shall be marked and released in
suitable habitat previously approved with appropriate land management agencies.
(vi) Reasonable efforts shall be made to inform
the public of the transplant program, fully explaining
reasons for the capturing and locations of the release area.
(vii) Upon request by an authorized scientific
investigative agency or public zoological institution, a captured bear may be
given to that agency or institution for appropriate nonrelease research
purposes. A reasonable charge may be required to cover costs of handling.
(e) Depredating grizzly bear that are not
suitable for release or research because of old age, acquired behavior,
disease, or crippling, shall be killed and sent to the department's research
facilities for investigation. The public shall be fully informed when these
actions are taken and the reasons for these actions shall be fully explained.
(f) Coordination. The department shall consult
with appropriate federal agencies and comply with applicable federal rules and
regulations in implementation of this policy.