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Grizzly bear killed in Whitefish Range self-defense encounter



Kalispell, Montana – Two Whitefish men recently killed a grizzly bear in self-defense in the Whitefish Range, north of Whitefish, according to state wildlife officials.

On Saturday afternoon, the two hunters were conducting preseason scouting in the Flathead National Forest close to Smokey Range Trailhead when they came across a mother bear with a cub.

The bears were startled by the men within 15 feet as they were passing through a dense part of the forest.

Both men shot and killed the adult bear when it charged at the people.

During the incident, one of the men was shot in the back shoulder and rushed to the hospital.

Wildlife Human Attack Response Team members and FWP game wardens responded and looked into the situation.

According to FWP, the bear’s actions during the unexpected, up-close encounter with the two guys seemed protective.

According to a news release, FWP informed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) law enforcement of its preliminary findings, and the USFWS concurred that it was a case of self-defense.

The grizzly bear was previously marked for population monitoring operations in 2009 and did not have a history of hostilities. The bear had been alive for around 25 years.

FWP is still keeping an eye on the location for the cub.

According to the FWP, the following safety measures can help outdoor workers prevent unpleasant bear encounters:

• Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
• Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise, which can help alert bears to your presence.
• Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
• Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
• If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.
• Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food, and other attractants put away in a secure building. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
• Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food-conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.

Special measures must be taken when hunting in areas where grizzly bears are present or may be:

• Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
• Look for bear sign and be cautious around creeks and areas with limited visibility and where any noises you might make do not carry well.
• Hunt with a group of people. Making localized noise can alert bears to your presence.
• Be aware that elk calls and cover scents can attract bears.
• Bring the equipment and people needed to help field dress game and remove the meat from the kill site as soon as possible.
• If you need to leave part of the meat in the field during processing, hang it at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 150 yards from the gut pile. Leave it where it can be observed from a distance of at least 200 yards.
• Upon your return, observe the meat with binoculars. If it has been disturbed or if a bear is in the area, leave and call FWP.


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