The 18-member Grizzly Bear Conservation and Management Advisory Council of Montana citizens has a big job between now and its August 2020 deadline. With four the eight scheduled council meetings have now taken place, this a good time to share my impressions of the work so far, and the important tasks that lie before us.

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Opening the pickup door and stepping out onto native grass, the sun begins to rise amidst the sound of the dawn chorus. I listen to the melodic tinkling of a Baird’s sparrow (my favorite song, and also set as my morning phone alarm); the downward whirl of the Sprague’s pipit (my ring tone); the buzz of the Brewer’s sparrows, the joyful couplets of the McCown’s longspur. The chestnut-collared longspurs are chasing each other in play, or fight.

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The Waterton Biosphere Reserve’s (WBR’s) Carnivores and Communities program operates in four municipalities, two of which are within the boundaries of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve in Canada. The program focuses on proactive management to decrease conflict between people and carnivores, especially bears and wolves, within the agricultural community of Southwestern Alberta. It is well funded and effective, and it is a major WBR program.

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In its third year, the Master Hunter Program educates and certifies qualified hunters, and provides landowners with a pool of competent, ethical and responsible hunters to draw from when weighing options to manage wildlife populations on their land, and considering who to allow on their property to hunt.

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