In a move criticized by conservation groups, Wyoming wildlife officials approved the trophy hunt of up to 22 grizzly bears in the state Wednesday. The decision by the state’s Fish and Game Commission came almost a year after the grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park were taken off the Endangered Species Act, thus losing their federal protection.

The hunting season will begin Sept. 1, replacing a ban that was in place for the past 43 years. According to the new rule, 10 bears, including a female, can be hunted in the core grizzly habitat in a region known as the Demographic Monitoring Area, where biologists track the bears’ population. Another 12 grizzlies, including a female, can be hunted outside this core habitat area.

Some of the regulations in the plan include compulsory education for hunters, prohibition against hunting near highways and focusing on areas with greater potential for grizzly-human conflicts, Wyoming-based BuckRail reported.

Manager of large carnivores for the state wildlife department, Dan Thompson, said the proposal was based on years of study.

“Hunting is another management tool within the suite of options that we currently have for the future conservation of grizzly bears,” he said. Thompson added the hunt was “not going to negatively impact the overall population of grizzly bears,” according to the Huffington Post. 

The Trump administration’s decision to remove grizzlies from the protected list came after U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found the bears’ population had revived enough since they were placed under federal care since 1975. Due to their removal from the list, the management of the bears were left to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, which are the three states bordering Yellowstone National Park.

Earlier this month, Idaho approved awarding a single hunter a grizzly tag for the season that runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 15. However, Montana decided against opening up for grizzly season, saying it was concerned about the long-term recovery of the bear population.

Wyoming’s decision was met with criticism from not only conservation groups, but also Native Americans, who revere the bears. A few hours after Wyoming’s officials announced the decision, a news conference was held by tribal leaders who denounced the plan.

“This is a sacred being that is central to our religious and life ways. This is not a hunting issue; this is a killing issue,” said Brian Jackson of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Reuters reported. 

In June, various Native American tribes and activists had sued the government for lifting the endangered species tag on grizzly bears. In August, various conservation nonprofit groups and tribes filed another complaint to restore the protection of bears.

“Grizzly bears are the essence of wildness and they’re the soul of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem,” Bonnie Rice of nonprofit conservation group Sierra Club said.

However, ranchers, who view the animals as a threat to livestock and mining and logging developments, applauded the decision.

“Wyoming owns the wildlife. I would like to see us exercise that authority,” said Jim Allen, a rancher and hunting outfitter.

According to the Interior Department, there are an estimated 700 grizzlies in Yellowstone now, up from 136 bears in 1975. The department added various factors indicated the population was “healthy and will be sustained into the future.”