Hunting season in Montana has caused several run-ins with grizzly bears, as a hunter has had to shoot a grizzly in self-defense in southern Montana. It’s at least the third in the past 30 days, as there have been a number of bear encounters in that state resulting in the defensive shooting of a bear.
Hunter Kills Grizzly In Self-Defense As Bear Charges In Southern Montana
A hunter was forced to shoot a grizzly bear in self-defense, according to NBC Montana, when the bear charged. The hunter was forced to shoot at close range, killing the bear, and then reported the incident to authorities on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens investigated the incident and found an animal carcass nearby after finding the dead bear. They conclude that the hunter alerted the bear to his presence, causing the bear to act defensively to defend its territory and kill.
The hunter was not injured.
The incident occurred near Beattie Gulch, near the Montana-Wyoming border and about 50 or so miles southeast of Bozeman, Mont., in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
Shooting Occurred In Grizzly Bear Hotspot
The Custer Gallatin National Forest has been a hotspot of grizzly bear activity in recent weeks, with a number of bear encounters.
A grizzly was shot and killed in the Custer Gallatin on Aug. 30 when the bear attacked two fishermen on their way to a river. Less than two weeks later, another bear attacked a pair of anglers in another part of the same forest on Sept. 9, according to KFBB, resulting in one fisherman needing airlift to a hospital in Bozeman. The bear in that incident was shot but escaped.
A sow was reportedly killed in late August near Glacier National Park by hunters that she attacked, reportedly while defending her cubs.
This makes it the third bear attack in the Custer Gallatin in less than 30 days.
Statistically, most bear attacks occur in July, August, and September. During this period, bears are active for more of the day, searching for food, as they’re looking to take in as many calories as they can for the coming winter hibernation. Bears have been known to put on up to 400 lbs in preparation.
In this case, the bear was defending his territory, one of the most common triggers of brown bear attacks. Males and females will defend a food source or, if startled, and females will defend their cubs. Brown bears rarely predate on humans, though it has been known to occur.
On the one hand, the grizzly bear has been extirpated from more than 60 percent of its historic range (which formerly extended from Alaska to Mexico and from the West Coast to Pennsylvania), but on the other, their population is increasing.
The population of the Yellowstone ecosystem has increased at least fourfold since 1980 (up to eight-fold, by some estimates), and the population in Montana itself has increased from fewer than 400 estimated individuals to over 1,000 in that same time period.
It behooves you to be bear-aware if you are visiting bear country or living in bear country. Engage in safe practices, and carry a firearm if you’re going to be in the brush in their country. Handguns have proven remarkably effective against bear attacks, as several people have successfully used them this year to save themselves from attacking bruins.