Does Butch ever want to get a grizzly bear tag?

Don’t expect Gov. Butch Otter to give up grizzly bear management like he did wolf management.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald Malloy relisted grizzly bears just like he did wolves. But Otter won’t benefit the same rhetoric riffs against the federal government he made with wolves by backing out of grizzly bear management.

That because nobody can call these bears “their bears.” Grizzly bears are native to Idaho, never left the area around Yellowstone, and came back with the cooperation of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The Idaho Legislature's grizzlt bear plan recognized that once recovered, it was Idaho’s responsibility to pay for bear management and the costs of grizzly bear depredation on livestock and even game.

Wolves get special dimissal for their reintroduction even though elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, turkeys, pheasants, chukars and many other Idaho game species were brought here from somewhere else. No one calls the bears Canadian grizzlies to suggest they are not worthy.

Of course when loggers and environmentalists had developed a local plan to bring grizzlies in from Montana to restore the population in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho balked. Then Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said we did want any “massive, flesh-eating carnivores,” here even though we already had them.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission again this week reiterated its hope the bear, whose population keeps rising in Greater Yellowstone to more than 600, is removed from the threatened species list. Throughout the ecosystem grizzly bear deaths have rose along with the population.

Environmentalists say the higher death rate reflects the continued threats of human encroachment and reduced food sources such as whitebark pine. Biologists say all the good habitat is occupied and the bears are expanding.

Remarkably, Idaho reported few grizzly conflicts with people this summer despite the dozens in neighboring states. The primary reason is the hands-on, aggressive efforts of Fish and Game, the Forest Service and local officials to keep bears away from garbage.

Commissioners issued a statement urging that nuisance bears killed outside primary conservation area in Idaho – the place everyone agrees grizzlies need special treatment -- should not count against mortality thresholds established in the grizzly bear conservation strategy.

The commission also does not support any "actions that curtail or limit hunting opportunities outside the primary conservation area, to enhance the expansion of grizzly bear populations," the statement says.

That would be something like a ban on bear baiting for black bears. It is a practice that has lost support among hunters over time because of “fair chase” concerns but remains popular especially for keeping the black bear population down.

Otter would be getting a great prize if he were to get the first grizzly bear tag in Idaho. A limited hunt could happen if the bear is delisted and the population continues to expand.

But until bears are recovered statewide, an issue the commission doesn’t want to aid by moving bears out from around Yellowstone, Idaho won’t get its world class trophy hunt.

Point clarification -

Wolves never "left the area," Rocky, they were eradicated by Idaho hunters and farmers. Some contend they were never truly eliminated but reports were never validated.

Validation ignored

I have a copy of an Idaho Statesman from 1979 with a story that states "a doc-umented breeding pair of wolves". I have seen reports of wolves in Idaho dated in the 1970's. I have maps showing native wolves doc-umented from before the introduction in 1994-95. Strange how all this "validation" has been ignored.

I've also read accounts from early explorers, prospectors and homesteaders that have plenty to say about local critters, but no mention of grizz or wolves in our area.

There are people who think that every patch of forest should have large predators without knowing if it is historical range, or even if there is suitable habitat to sustain future generations (ie. expansion.) The wolf issue is a perfect example of this, and grizz are becoming the next.


I wrote many stories in the early 1990s about the presence of wolves in Idaho. This fact was not ignored. One pack in Bear Valley was poisoned in 1991. Biologists then surmised a pack had been in the area since perhaps 1978. These wolves came from Canada naturally. Federal officials said when sued that the intermittent sighting did not represent a population and that is how they justified the reintroduction. It held up in court.

We don't need to spend money on bears

It seems like there is more important things to do with our limited resources than spend it on bears, for instance education, our leadership has it's priorities all wrong.

Grizzly Bears

Rocky, I grew up in Eastern Idaho next door to Yellowstone. Friends and relatives of mine had them show up on their ranches once in a while and F&G would simply trap them and put em back. They have no where near the impact on domestic animals and game animals that wolves do. To equate the bears to wolves is just plain wrong.
This article is rhetoric, If the Governor needs lessons, you should volunteer to tutor him as you are the master.

Agreed 2



Thanks Amish, journalistic license has gotten out of hand
and ya gotta call em on it once in a while...


For a simple difference, Rocky
try to understand these two words: omnivore and carnivore.

Recess time!

Bears eat ANYTHING!


This is why they are so good at getting in trouble with us.


I agree you cannot equate bears to wolves, but there is a similarity in the fact that prime habitat has been saturated by both species. Expanding populations are causing conflicts. Relocating problem animals only dumps them into another animal's territory. I've read that some of the radio collared bears head right back for their old territory. I also agree that this blog is rhetoric if you are using the definition "loud and confused and empty talk" - not Aristotle's.


It is not bear management, just like it is not wolf management. The only policy is KILLING. Typical of us humans to have one solution only--the most lethal. We certainly are the top predator.

Managing anything,

doesn't seem to be our "Forte" if you will. We can't even manage traffic.
We suck,lol. Not our place to play God anyhow......
We know whats best? Not even close!

griz bears

Bring it on- we need a griz bear season in Idaho- we can wipe them out again.


Find some and get back to us....


Let's take some Kodiak bears and REINTRODUCE them into the Wood River Valley---

kodiak - grizzly --- it's pretty much the same, at least that's what the wolf-lovers would have to agree.

Would you?


Want to get tagged by a grizzly bear?

I'm sure he wanted a coonskin cap like Fess Parker once!



Whitebark Pine

Why do "journalists" just repeat what others say instead of doing research? The Whitebark Pine "talking point" is getting old Rocky. The trees only put out seeds every 3-5 years. Plus the location must also contain pine squirrels who will gather the cones into a midden for the lucky bear to find. Now pine squirrels can not live in a pure whitebark pine forest, as the trees do not produce regular crops of seed. They require a mixed forest that will provide food sources in the "off years". However, mixed stands are not good for the whitebark, as their seedlings will be shaded out by other sub-alpine trees and shrubs. Squirrels are also not good for Whitebark Pines, as they harvest cones before the seeds are mature, and therefore do not propagate the plant. The Clark's Nutcrackers are the critters that opens the mature cones and plants the seeds, but not in quantities sufficient to feed a bear.

Grizz are not whitebark dependent - its a great source of food but only some years and in some locations.

Hey Rocky! KFXD-TV made a point about validation too!


Try reading.