Governor Greg Gianforte on Friday welcomed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s acceptance of the state of Montana’s petition to delist grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in northwest Montana. This action will be the first step in allowing Montana to take over management of the protected Grizzly Bear.

Governor Greg Gianforte:

“After decades of work, the grizzly bear has more than recovered in the NCDE, which represents a conservation success. As part of that conservation success, the federal government has accepted our petition to delist the grizzly in the NCDE, opening the door to state management of this iconic American species.”

This was welcome news among Montana’s top elected officials.

Senator Jon Tester:

“Defending Montana’s outdoor heritage and wildlife is critically important to our way of life – and that starts with following the best available science. After decades of collaborative work between federal, state, local, and Tribal groups, we’ve seen grizzly bears in Montana come back from the brink of extinction, and that’s something to celebrate. FWS took a step in the right direction today, which is a testament to the strength of grizzly populations in Montana. Now state government needs to develop science-based management plans to ensure success, and I’ll hold the Biden Administration’s feet to the fire to provide support.”


Senator Steve Daines:

“This is great news for Montana. The science is clear—it’s time to delist the grizzly bear. I’m glad to see Fish and Wildlife Service listen to science, Montanans, and Governor Gianforte to move forward with the process to delist the grizzly bear in the Northern Continental Divide and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystems,”

Congressman Matt Rosendale:

“Fish and Wildlife Service accepting our petition to delist the Grizzly Bear marks a shift in the way we think and talk about the Endangered Species Act. Rather than continuing to place burdensome, unnecessary restrictions on citizens, businesses, and private property, the Grizzly Bear’s recovery can now be responsibly managed using modern science-based methods. The current subjective bureaucratic mandates do not help the Grizzly Bear and certainly do not help Montana.”


Congressman Ryan Zinke:

“The time to delist the grizzly is long overdue. As Secretary I followed the science and guidance of wildlife experts and delisted the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly only to have it overturned by a radical activist judge. I will be working with the Montana and neighboring delegations to introduce legislation to delist the bear and restore state management to our wildlife.”

Zinke had previously delisted the Grizzly when he was the Secretary of the Interior, but the ruling was overturned by a judge.


Governor Ginaforte had already put in motion a plan to manage the bears once the state took over management.


In the story form December 2022, Governor Gianforte said that a Grizzly Bear hunting season may be an option, but won’t be offered right away.

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