Wildlife officials in Montana were forced to euthanize a grizzly bear after it charged a landowner’s vehicle twice in one day.
In a press release, the state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency explained that the landowner was driving on a two-track farm road in Bynum late in the afternoon on Wednesday, September 22 when the bear “emerged from a small cattail patch” and charged his vehicle.
Later that day, the driver returned to the same location with a passenger, and the grizzly bear once again charged. But that time, it struck and bit the vehicle.
The landowner contacted the FWP, which led bear management specialists and game wardens to respond. Once there, they estimated that the bear was approximately four years old and weighed around 350 pounds. It did not have cubs nor was there food nearby. So there was no reasonable answer to explain the animal’s aggression.
The agency also noted that the same bear had caused a “residential conflict on the Blackfeet Reservation” in 2020. Because of that, officials relocated it to the southern Mission mountains.
Due to repeated conflict with humans and its “unusually aggressive behavior,” the agency decided that trapping and relocating the animal again was not an option. After gaining permission from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), officials immediately euthanized the grizzly bear to keep residents safe.
“The hide and head from the bear were salvaged and will be used for educational purposes,” the release added.
Officials Ask Residents to Help Prevent Grizzly Bear Conflicts
There are only an estimated 55,000 Grizzly bears living in North America, and they are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which means that the USFWS is the only authority that can give permission to kill one of the animals. And typically, the service only makes exceptions for human conflict.
But with the efforts to expand the grizzly population moving slowly, FWP is asking people to take special care while living around the animals.
“Montana is bear country,” it wrote. “Preventing a conflict is easier than dealing with one.”
When people are hiking, they should carry bear spray to ward off attacks. The agency writes that EPA-approved brands are “highly effective” and “non-lethal.”
It also asks that homeowners do not let the animals “linger” on their property so they do not continue coming back. Instead, the owners should contact FWP to properly and safely remove them.
And most importantly, feeding grizzly bears is dangerous for both the animals and people.
“Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety,” it adds. “And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.”