Grizzly bear

LEWISTOWN, Mont. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services euthanized a grizzly bear after it was confirmed to have killed a cow in the Big Snowy Mountains south of Lewistown.

The bear was first reported the week before after a remote camera captured images of it feeding on a cow carcass Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) reports. 

After a second cow carcass was found with signs of a bear nearby, traps were set.

The 447-pound male bear was estimated to be 4 to 6 years old, and was trapped on private land Wednesday morning.

Following consultation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services the bear was euthanized.

“Factors influencing the decision included the age and sex of the bear, as well as its location well outside of identified connectivity corridors between the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide grizzly populations,” FWP wrote in a release. “FWP will collect DNA samples from the bear in order to determine its origin.”

FWP is warning farmers, ranchers, homeowners and outdoor recreationists to be prepared to encounter bears as their population and range expands east from the Rocky Mountain Front. 

Grizzly bears are still protected under the Endangered Species Act, and final authority regarding their management is up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

On May 24 FWP will host a public meeting on grizzly bear awareness, including how to minimize conflict. The meeting will be at 6:30  pm at the Yogo Inn in Lewistown and is open to the public, and area landowners are encouraged to attend.

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