(photo courtesy of christophermartinphotography.com)
A turkey hunter encountered a grizzly bear adult and two grizzly yearlings in the area of the Creston National Fish Hatchery east of Kalispell this morning. The hunter was walking along, and spotted a deer carcass. He heard something and looked up to see a grizzly charging him at close range. The hunter fired his shotgun at the grizzly from about 10 yards away; he was uncertain whether or not his shot hit the grizzly.
The adult grizzly and what appeared to be two yearlings ran away to the east of the fish hatchery area.
The hunter notified FWP; Wardens Chuck Bartos and Nathan Reiner, and Tim Manley, Grizzly Bear Management Specialist, responded to investigate the incident. They could find no blood at the scene although they did located grizzly bear tracks in skiffs of snow that quickly melted. In the interest of public safety, FWP observed the area from a helicopter but no sign of the bears could be found.
Cameras were installed near the deer carcass to monitor the area in case the bears return.
Warden Captain Lee Anderson asks the public to notify FWP if any sign of the bears is found.
Please call: Tim Manley, Grizzly Bear Management Specialist, 406-250-1265, with any information on the bears.
(Report by John Fraley, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks – Region 1)