ZooMontana grizzly bear vault image

GARDINER, Mont. - On Oct. 3, a group of hunters shot and killed a grizzly bear that reportedly charged them in the backcountry east of Gardiner.

The hunters were processing a harvested elk near Bull Mountain during an early-season rifle hunt when the bear appeared and charged at them, FWP wrote in a release.

The bear was shot and killed by the hunters during its charge. The hunters were reportedly not injured. FWP said the bear was a 3- to 5-year-old female without cubs. 

Wildlife and enforcement staff from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) and the Custer Gallatin National Forest’s Gardiner Ranger District met with the hunters and confirmed the bear's death.

The incident is still under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Recreationists, residents and people who work outdoors can be prepared for a surprise bear encounter. Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear. 

FWP asks everyone to keep these precautions in mind when you’re spending time in Montana’s outdoors: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings and look for bear sign. 
  • Read signs at trailheads and stay on trails. Be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush. 
  • Carry bear spray. Know how to use it and be prepared to deploy 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. 

Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

For more information on bear safety, visit go.usa.gov/xFmsQ

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