The Grizzly Bear is and always will be the number one iconic apex predator of the west. It was when Lewis and Clark made their epic expeditions exploring the west and it remains so today. The Grizzly Bear has been protected in all of the Continental U.S. except Alaska since 1975 under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act.
I know the Grizzly very well as I have hunted the animal for some 19 years without success using the longbow, the hardest of all weapons to shoot using homemade wooden arrows and handmade stone points. Approximately 8 years ago my quest ended in success while shooting a TV episode for NBC Sports on "The Best and Worst of Tred Barta." My shot was at 8 yards and was captured on film.
I tell you this because when I speak of grizzlies I know what I am talking about.
The Grizzly Bear has been protected in Yellowstone National Park for over 40 years. In 1975, it was estimated only 136 bears were in existence. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe there are over 700 Grizzly Bears in an area that includes North Western Wyoming, South Western Montana, and Eastern Idaho.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has come to the conclusion that the population is fully recovered and with proper management trophy hunting on a limited and highly regulated season can take place as long as the overall population does not go below 600 bears. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service filed a ruling that will remove the Grizzly from endangered and threatened species and now actually give jurisdiction and management of hunting season and bag limits to Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Hunting inside Yellowstone Park would still be banned which in my opinion is ridiculous and dangerous and worse than that, piss-poor management. As a big-game hunter and conservationist and a naturalist, let me tell you what I and many big-game hunters, ranchers, and outdoorsman know that you don’t know or that the public does not know and the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t want to tell you.
Before I spill the coffee beans all over the floor let me congratulate U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for supporting and bringing forth with many others the correct decision to remove the Grizzly from the endangered list. Mr. Zinke is levelheaded, straightforward, makes decisions on facts and not fiction. He was hired by President Trump who every day is Making America Great Again. And that is a fact.
Talking about facts, let’s talk about unmitigated fiction. There are way more than 700 Grizzly’s in the area that I have mentioned above. There very well may be over 2,000 grizzlies that exist.
From all reports of people who live in wild places the estimates do not hold water. The greatest number one problem with grizzlies in the west today are that, due to the mismanagement and complete obliteration of any access to hunting, the number one apex predator of the western world is not afraid of humans. Sheep, cows, pets, horses, llamas, livestock, and, by the way, your children and anyone who ventures into Grizzly country without a gun, is on the menu. For humans it is a horrifying death. The attack is quick and brutal. The mighty animal with one swipe can easily crush your ribcage. You will then be eaten alive and buried in the undergrowth of the forest to be later consumed by the attacker. The only defense anyone can offer is to immediately go into a prenatal position allowing the bear to actually rip apart and eat immediately some of your flesh, you must pretend to be dead and curl up to hide your vitals and then be buried, hopefully crawling away after the Grizzly leaves. How does that sound everyone?
If you spend time in the wilderness of the Great Outdoors, you will learn that the only true enemy of the Grizzly Bear is the human. And whether it be in the Bible or it is just commonsense, man must assert his position in the wilderness or any Grizzly could walk into a homestead, killing you and the livestock which exists. It is just a simple fact of life. Due to the fact that the Grizzly Bear is omnivores, meaning that it can survive eating anything; from bugs, worms and slugs, vegetables, almost all the grasses and meat. The Grizzly represents a real threat to the modern world.
On many hunting trips harvesting moose, deer, or elk, when a rifle shot rings out across the land, Grizzly Bears who have not been hunted in 40 years and whom do not fear man, literally rush to the kill site. It is the most dangerous situation we have in the west today. It is like a dinner bell going off. A dear friend of mine, Travis Brown, last year harvested a beautiful bull elk and while removing the meat, which was packed on a horse while Travis led, a Grizzly Bear followed the hunting party for over 10 miles.
It is a very, very good thing that grizzlies will be hunted in the west again. And hopefully the circle of life will come back into some reasonable harmony. Grizzlies need to fear man. There are some 125 tribes that have signed proposed legislation opposing trophy hunting Grizzly Bears. The tribes consider them sacred animals. I respect their feelings. Tonight I am going to eat a juicy T-bone steak. Let’s not forget that many Hindu’s consider themselves and their neighbors reincarnated into cows. I am sure that many leftwing, liberal anti-hunting groups, such as Earth Justice, the Sierra Club, PETA and the Humane Society will fight this ruling. What else is new?
I am excited that one of the greatest, iconic figures of America is now back in the natural flow of the circle of life. I believe grizzlies should be highly monitored for their future success. I am extremely proud of our president and his Secretary of State but I will tell you as a matter of fact, grizzlies who do not fear humans are as dangerous as they have ever been. Do yourself a favor, stay off the menu.
Tred Barta is an American hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman who hosts "The Best and Worst of Tred Barta" on the Versus Channel. As a fisherman, Barta has amassed several world records, some still current. Barta experienced spinal stroke and cancer in 2009, leaving him paralyzed from the armpits down. However, Barta continues to hunt and fish as he did before the accident. Overcoming limitations and fears is part of "The Barta Way." To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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