Grizzly killed by black bear hunter in northwestern Montana
Wildlife officials say a Pennsylvania man shot and killed a 500-pound grizzly bear while he was hunting for black bears in northwestern Montana.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Dillon Tabish said the adult male bear was killed May 20 on U.S. Forest Service land in the Swan Valley.
The hunter told game wardens that he mistakenly believed the animal to be a black bear. It was not immediately known whether he received a citation.
Grizzlies are protected in northwestern Montana as a threatened species under federal law. Black bear hunters must pass a bear identification test before receiving their license.
Tabish referred questions about the investigation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where an agency spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Also, in a news release Wednesday, June 13, the MFWP reported that a grizzly bear in north-central Montana died June 11 after getting into insecticides in an open garage.
The sub-adult female bear was about 11 miles northwest of Carter, which is between Fort Benton and Great Falls. The female had been seen in previous days traveling with a sibling bear. The sibling is still believed to be in the area.
MFWP bear specialists are attempting to trap the second bear, which has been getting into pet food and grain spills south of the Teton River.
The bear that died was about 143 pounds and died within hours of ingesting several different kinds of insecticide. The carcass will be taken to FWP’s wildlife health lab in Bozeman to confirm the cause of death.
FWP has received several reports in recent weeks of grizzly bears out on the plains east of the Rocky Mountain Front. Bears in search of food can get into grain spills, garbage, pet food, bird seed and other attractants. FWP bear specialists recommend that people make sure any attractants are put away or cleaned up to prevent bears from being drawn to homes. FWP also recommends safely scaring away bears that come near homes. For example, using a vehicle and loud noises to scare away bears from homes are good techniques that can keep people safe. However, the bears must be uninjured in the process because they are still a federally protected species.
FWP was to hold a community meeting in Fort Benton on June 13 to discuss general bear awareness and answer questions from the public.