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Judge extends block on grizzly hunting outside Yellowstone

MISSOULA – U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen extended his order barring Wyoming and Idaho from starting hunts for grizzly bears around the perimeter of Yellowstone National Park.

On Wednesday conservation groups asked the judge to extend the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction he first issued following a contentious court hearing two weeks ago.

At that hearing, the environmental and wildlife groups, along with the region’s tribes, were trying to reverse the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to de-list the grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Taking the big bears off the Threatened Species list turns management over to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, management which would include hunting.

Earthjustice complained the federal agencies and the state hadn’t responded to the order.

On Thursday afternoon, Christensen extended his order for another 14 days, and the defendants all filed responses for the judge to review before issuing his ruling.

By Dennis Bragg – MTN News

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