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Montana Hunter Kills Grizzly in Self Defense For Survival

Last week a Montana black bear hunter was forced to defend himself against a charging grizzly bear.

Montana Hunter Kills Grizzly in Self Defense For Survival

Photo by Dale Evans

On June 5, a Montana hunter reported being charged by a grizzly while black bear hunting in the backcountry near Ennis, Montana. The hunter shot and killed the bear with a pistol and sustained no injuries from the charge.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials released the following information:

“A hunter killed a grizzly bear in self-defense last week in the Madison Range southeast of Ennis. The person was hunting black bears in a remote parcel of private land in the backcountry on June 5 when he was charged by a grizzly bear. The hunter shot and killed the bear with a pistol and was not injured.

The hunter notified Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks the same day. Officials from FWP, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest conducted a field investigation with help from the landowner and confirmed the bear mortality. The investigation is ongoing.

The bear’s behavior appeared to be defensive in the surprise, close encounter with the hunter. The 15-year-old female grizzly had previously been captured for research purposes in 2013 and had no known history of conflict with people. No cubs were seen with the bear. The bear died outside the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear recovery zone, and inside the demographic monitoring area.”

Though Montana is bear country, grizzly bear populations have continued to become more widespread and denser in recent years. The likelihood Montana residents and visitors, as well as those recreating in areas anywhere west of Billings, will encounter grizzly bears is increasing. More and more grizzly-human encounters – some fatal to either the bear or the human – are happening each year.

Despite calls for smart, local management – including hunting, grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are still listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and management of the bears continues through a collaboration of state and federal agencies via the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.

For more information and resources regarding bear safety; fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/bear.




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