CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming has approved its first hunt of grizzly bears in 44 years.

The hunt this fall will be the biggest in the lower 48 states since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region in 2017.

The hunt's rules will allow up to 22 grizzlies to be killed in a wide area east and south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission heard from hunt supporters and opponents before voting unanimously in favor of it Wednesday.

Supporters say Wyoming's grizzly population can easily sustain limited hunting. Hunt opponents question that claim.

Idaho has approved hunting one grizzly this fall. Montana has decided for now that it will not allow grizzly bear hunting.

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