BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife managers in the Northern Rockies are laying the groundwork for trophy grizzly bear hunts as the government moves toward lifting the animal's threatened species status. It's expected to be another two years or more before roughly 1,600 bears in the regions around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks lose their federal protections.

Yet state and federal officials say the populations already have recovered enough that limited hunting could be allowed at that time. That could include areas of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho that have seen rising bear-human conflicts and livestock attacks.

A federal-state committee that oversees grizzly bears will consider adopting a pro-hunting policy next week. It's taken decades for grizzlies to rebound from widespread extermination. Some wildlife advocates say it's too soon to talk about a hunt.