05/16/2019

Safari Club International opposes a bill in Congress that would stop trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

The Congressional version of “what if someone threw a party and no one came” was in full force on Wednesday when House Natural Resources Committee - Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee Chairman Jared Huffman (D- CA) held a hearing on H.R. 2532, the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, and failed to even show up.

The bill’s author, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, (D- AZ) also failed to show up.

The hearing was chaired by freshman Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO). And there were no additional members of the majority party in attendance.

On the Republican side, Ranking Minority Member Tom McClintock (R-CA) was joined by Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT).

The panel of witnesses offered no surprises in their testimonies.  The three representatives Native American Organizations and Barrie Gilbert, conservation ecologist and emeritus faculty, Utah State University, offered largely emotion-based support for H.R. 2532.

On the other side of the debate, opposing H.R. 2532 and in support of the delisting of the grizzly bear, were Brian Nesvik, Director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department; and Jonathan Wood, attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation, and research fellow, Property and Environment Research Center, Arlington, Va.

Nevsik and Wood discussed the success story of grizzly bear recovery in their testimonies, Nevsik calling it: “one of the most significant conservation success stories in the history of wildlife conservation.”

Wyoming people (primarily sportsmen or those who have purchased hunting or fishing licenses) have invested tens of millions of dollars to recover this population from their low point in the early 1970s when there were as few as 136 bears in the GYE,” Nevsik went on to say. “Wyoming people have changed the way they work, live and recreate in grizzly bear country to help with their recovery. Now, the most conservative estimates show there are over 700 grizzly bears in the GYE.”

Johnathan Wood quoted the President of the National Wildlife Federation in his testimony: “The Yellowstone grizzly’s recovery, which the president of the National Wildlife Federation described as ‘a true American conservation success story,’ is a story of successful collaboration between federal biologists, state wildlife officials, conservation groups, and landowners,” said Wood. “Such collaborations, which depend on having the right incentives, are the key to recovering more grizzly populations and other species.”

 

No further action has been scheduled for H.R. 2532.