Last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a legislative hearing on S. 614, the Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019, which recognizes the monumental effort that states, federal agencies, private landowners, and others have invested to fully recover the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).
Prior to the hearing, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the EPW Committee in strong support of S. 614. At the time of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing in 1975, it was estimated there were as few as 136 grizzlies in the GYE. However, through dedicated funding from state and federal agencies, science-based management, and other conservation efforts, the grizzly bear has recovered to a level that is near, or at, the GYE’s carrying capacity with approximately 700 bears in the region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the GYE Grizzly has recovered to a level that federal listing under the Endangered Species List is no longer necessary, and the primary management of the species should be returned to the states that have the expertise and resources to manage wildlife effectively.
Unfortunately, many ill-advised lawsuits have threatened the strategic partnership that has conserved and recovered the GYE grizzly. S. 614 would protect this partnership and reaffirm that states within the GYE are best positioned to manage recovered grizzly bear populations.
S. 614 awaits further action in the U.S. Senate.
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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?Vote Here
- By sentencing them to jail time. (36.84%)
- By giving them a cash fine. (11.58%)
- By banning their hunting and fishing privileges and their ability to buy the necessary licenses. (15.79%)
- By putting them on a probation period. (1.05%)
- There should be some discretion in the penalties depending on the motivations for the poaching incident. (34.74%)