USFWS Rules to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

posted on June 30, 2017

After 42 years of federal protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has ruled to remove the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List. Effective July 31, management of the recovered GYE grizzlies will return to state agencies.

The USFWS’ decision to delist the GYE grizzlies was based on over four decades of intensive scientific efforts. According to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST), the Yellowstone grizzly bear has more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s to inhabit more than 22,500 square miles of the GYE. The population’s stability over the last decade and other population trends suggest that the GYE is at or near its capacity to support grizzly bears. When listed as threatened in 1975, the grizzly bear population in the GYE was estimated to be less than 150. Today, conservative estimates put the GYE grizzly population at 700, according to the USFWS.

 “As a kid who grew up in Montana, I can tell you that this is a long time coming and very good news for many communities and advocates in the Yellowstone region,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of the state, tribal, federal and private partners. As a Montanan, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the USFWS, in cooperation with the states, monitor the recovered grizzly for a minimum of five years to ensure the population can sustain itself without ESA’s protective regulations. Prior to today’s final ruling, the Yellowstone Ecosystem Committee finalized the 2016 Conservation Strategy that will guide post-delisting monitoring and management of the GYE grizzly bears.

Though management plans have yet to be finalized, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana—the three states that will take over jurisdiction of the GYE grizzlies—have adopted a Tri-State Memorandum of Agreement which includes outlines for limited regulated hunting in the future. At press time, it is unknown when such limited hunting could occur.

To view the USFWS’ final rule and related documents, click here.


2022 GBA AOTY Winchester 6.8 Western Lead
2022 GBA AOTY Winchester 6.8 Western Lead

2022 Ammo of the Year: Winchester 6.8 Western

Any way you cut it, this cartridge is a long-range winner. It maintains its energy at distance, and it’s plenty accurate, too.

Pioneering Wild Turkey Research Underway

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is helping fund a new wild-turkey research project conducted by Mississippi State University and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

2022 Optic of the Year: ATN ThOR 4 Thermal Riflescope

ATN Corp. sits at the cutting edge of consumer-based thermal technology, and its ThOR 4 Series 640x480 2.5-25x50mm is the best such riflescope it offers.

Federal Ammunition Raises $218,000 for Local Organizations

In celebration of Federal’s 100th Anniversary, Federal will be donating more than $218,000 dollars to local organizations in support of their critical missions.

Federal Duck Stamps for 2022-23 Season on Sale

The 2022-23 Federal Duck Stamp goes on sale Friday, June 24. The stamps, which cost $25 and raise about $40 million for conservation each year, are valid from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.

2022 Muzzleloader of the Year: CVA Paramount HTR .40-Caliber

With its hunting-style stock, adjustable comb and premium Bergara barrel, the .40-caliber CVA Paramount HTR is capable of producing centerfire velocities previously thought unattainable from a muzzleloader.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.