Panel says hunting could help manage grizzly bears

BILLINGS, Mont. — A government committee says grizzly bear hunting could help control the animal’s population once federal protections are lifted.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee said Thursday that hunting could help minimize conflict between bears and humans.

Plans already are in place to allow hunting in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho after grizzlies come off the list of threatened species.

Specifics have yet to be worked out, but officials say hunting would be limited to a small number of bears annually.

Federal officials say protections could be lifted in 2014 for about 600 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, and at a later date for about 1,000 grizzlies in an area centered on Glacier National Park.

The interagency committee includes representatives of five federal agencies, four states and the Canadian government.

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