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Wounded grizzly bear euthanized near Shelby

Posted at 11:48 AM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 13:48:24-04

A grizzly bear that was wounded by a gunshot on July 26 was captured and killed by wildlife officials on Monday along the Marias River west of Highway 417 near Shelby.

The shooting of the bear in July is being investigated by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bear was euthanized on Monday because it was not likely to survive the gunshot wound, and due to concerns for public safety.

FWP included a photo of the tracks of the bear in a Facebook post and explained: “These tracks show that the individual bear was dragging it’s front right leg and was unable to put weight on it. A grizzly that cannot use its front leg suffers as it cannot properly dig dens or obtain food like roots and insects.”

FWP first trapped this three-year-old male grizzly last October near Choteau where it had been eating apples out of trees near a residence. The bear was collared and released on National Forest land.

Over the summer, the bear returned to prairie lands along the Marias River and got into additional unsecured attractants (chicken feed and dog food) at one or more residences.

After approaching another residence, the bear was shot, although authorities do not yet know who shot it.  FWP had tried to locate and trap the bear but was unsuccessful.

The bear was part of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly population, which are federally protected under the Endangered Species List.


(AUGUST 7, 2018) State and federal wildlife officials are trying to capture a wounded young male grizzly bear along the Marias River east of I-15.

The bear was reportedly shot on July 26, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, and the incident is being investigated by FWP and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Authorities have not yet determined who shot the bear.

On Tuesday morning, according to FWP, the bear was about three miles east of the interstate. The grizzly bear is collared and FWP is monitoring its movements. FWP has also been talking with landowners along the river so they are aware of the situation.

When the grizzly is trapped it will be taken to a veterinarian to determine the extent of its injury.

FWP said in a press release that currently on the Rocky Mountain Front, wild fruits are maturing, and bears are eating chokecherry, serviceberry and, soon, buffalo berry.

People should be cautious when in thick brush along the Marias and any other river flowing east from the Front. Always carry bear spray, make noise, travel in groups and be aware of bear tracks and signs of bear activity.

FWP noted that grizzly bear attacks are rare and usually happen due to surprise encounters, where the bear is startled, then charges out of fear.

Story by David Sherman, MTN News