BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge is due to decide Thursday if two Rocky Mountain states can move forward with the first public hunts for grizzly bears in the Lower 48 in almost three decades.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula, Montana, put on hold for two weeks hunts scheduled in Idaho and Wyoming.
That order expires Thursday. Hunt opponents asked the judge for a further two-week delay, but he did not immediately rule on the request.
The U.S. Interior Department last year lifted protections on the population of about 700 grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife advocates and Native American tribes sued to restore their protected status.
Up to 22 bears could be killed in the Wyoming hunt. Idaho is allowing one bear to be killed.