Trying to dig up more information on this bill, I sent e-mails to Montana Senator Debby Barrett, who is pushing the bill, Montana FWP, who is opposing the bill, and Doug Peacock, who is a Montana native and who knows more about the battle over the grizzly than anyone else. In my e-mails to Barrett and the FWP, I suggested using supplemental feeding as an alternative to bullets in order to solve the problem bear issue, despite the insistence of wildlife managers that "a fed bear is a dead bear". Not surprisingly, I received no repsonse from either party.
Doug Peacock, on the other hand, did reply and I'm pleased to say that his response was encouraging. He said that the state has no authority to act unless the feds first de-list the grizzly and it stands up to several court challenges. He's pretty confident that it's just hot air. While I agree that it won't happen overnight, I'm not sure that I'm as confident as he is. With bears expanding their home ranges in search of food, the clash with a misinformed and uneducated public could have grim consequences. It's a situation that's going to be hard to predict. Now more news info is coming out about what the situation will be the summer and the push to remove the grizzly's protection. This recent article from The Missoulian expands on that a bit more: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_414934ac-26b4-11e0-9b4a-001cc4c03286.html
I get the feeling that this summer is going to be quite a ride.