Fewer protections could open the door for potential hunting seasons.

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CODY, Wyo. — State and federal wildlife managers are considering removing Endangered Species Act protections from grizzly bears living in Yellowstone National Park.

Officials are meeting in Cody on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss how to manage unprotected bears.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed lifting the federal protections for the Yellowstone bears in March. Grizzly bears were first listed as threatened in 1975, when the Yellowstone population was estimated at as few as 136 bears. Recent estimates say the population has now climbed above 700.

Delisting the Yellowstone bears would give more management responsibility to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho and open the door for potential hunting seasons.