Guest Opinions

Don’t hunt grizzlies. Idaho will get more if we protect them to see and appreciate.

A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in 2011. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted to allow a grizzly bear hunt this year.
A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in 2011. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted to allow a grizzly bear hunt this year. AP

The proposal to start grizzly bear hunting in Eastern Idaho is not in the public interest and is not based in science.

Scientific method is an investigation in which a problem is first identified and then observations, experiments or other relevant data are used to construct or test hypotheses that purport to solve it.

Idaho F&G does not want to provide protected habitat for large predators such as bears and wolves, because the position of the state is pro-development. This is how we ended up being the fastest-growing state in the nation last year.

The state wishes to take over the management of federal lands in Idaho. If it is “management” like in F&G plans for the wolves and the grizzlies, then such management is just outright destruction.

Idaho Fish and Game Service proposes to shoot a grizzly bear that ventures out of the protection afforded by the Yellowstone National Park.

I visited Yellowstone National Park four times. Dining at the lodge, the guests were told they could see bears. Most stood up and left their dinners to go outside. That speaks tons about us: Our food is plentiful, but our wildlife is scarce.

Grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states before the European settlers is estimated at 50,000 to 100,000. Now, there are about 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone area, and a few dozen in Idaho. Does that mean Idaho has one “extra” grizzly? I think tens of thousands of them are missing from America’s lands. Tens of years and millions of public dollars went into the species recovery effort. To now allow hunting is to destroy the public investment in the program, destroy the public trust in Idaho’s ability to manage the grizzlies, and to betray the public interest in keeping our wildlife not just recovering but thriving.

It will cost less to keep the grizzly protected than to manage the grizzly program while allowing hunting. Most people in Idaho do not benefit from hunting grizzlies.

A F&G survey found there are twice as many wildlife watchers as hunters. Idaho’s tourism promotions do not say “We have an open season on everything that moves.” They do employ images of Idaho’s pristine nature. Most tourists want to see the part of Idaho that has been preserved by its thoughtful people.

A leader is more than a politician because of a willingness to think ahead and be different. Idaho’s Sen. Risch recently tried to oppose the naming of the White Clouds Wilderness area for the legendary Idahoan Cecil Andrus. What I take from this story is that the only thing that will be remembered about you after your passing is the good you have done.

Fish and Game biologists will present proposed grizzly bear hunting season options for commission action at a May 9-10 meeting in McCall. I ask the Fish and Game commissioners to be the leaders that Idaho needs, and to keep the grizzlies protected.

Let the beauty and abundance of Idaho be perpetual.

Inna Patrick, of Boise, is a scientist and inventor.