BOISE — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission asked a federal court to let it join a federal lawsuit regarding black bear baiting on national forest lands in Idaho and Wyoming. The commission wants to defend its authority to regulate hunting activities without additional federal regulations. Filings were submitted in the United States District Court in Idaho.
WildEarth Guardians, a nonprofit grassroots environmental organization cited the lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The organization has asked the court to order the U.S. Forest Service to close national forests to baiting for black bear hunting and consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential effects on grizzly bears.
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The Fish and Game Commission regulates black bear baiting through various rules and a requirement for a bait permit and black bear hunt tag. There are already long-standing, commission-approved bait closures to protect grizzly bears in the Panhandle and the Greater Yellowstone area in Eastern Idaho.
In the last twenty years, the only grizzly bear killed on national forest lands at a black bear bait site in Idaho was in 2007 in the Kelly Creek area of central Idaho. The last prior verified grizzly sighting in that area had been in 1946.