The landowner first encountered the bear late that afternoon while driving on a two-track farm road and it emerged from a small cattail patch and charged his vehicle. He returned with another person in a second vehicle, and the bear again charged, struck and bit the vehicle. FWP game wardens and bear management specialists responded shortly after and determined that trapping and relocating the bear was not an option due to its aggressive behavior. Wildlife managers then sought and obtained permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to euthanize the bear immediately in the interest of human safety.
No cause could be determined for the highly aggressive behavior of the female bear, which was estimated at 4 years old and weighed about 350 pounds. It did not have cubs, and there was no food item or carcass that could be found in the area. The bear had previously been in residential conflict on the Blackfeet Reservation and relocated to the southern Mission mountains in 2020.
The hide and head from the bear were salvaged and will be used for educational purposes.
Montana is bear country. Preventing a conflict is easier than dealing with one.
- Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
- Grizzly bears can be deterred from areas near homes using USFWS guidelines for hazing grizzly bears. This helps reinforce bears’ fear of people.
- Don’t let grizzly bears linger in your yard or near homes or other structures because this can lead to habituation.
- Notify your neighbors if you do observe a grizzly bear in the area to help make others aware.
- Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
- Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never approach a bear.
- Remove or secure food attractants. Bear-resistant containers and a properly constructed electrified fence are proven effective at deterring bears.
Grizzly bears are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and final authority regarding management actions are up to the USFWS.
If you see a bear near your residence or need to report a conflict, please call your local bear specialist at the contact number found at FWP’s website: https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/bear/contact.
For more information on living, working, and recreating in Montana’s bear country, visit the FWP Bear Aware website at https://fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/bear/be-bear-aware.