Montana elk hunters kill grizzly bear in self-defense

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Hunters in Montana shot and killed a grizzly bear recently in what they described as a self-defense encounter as they processed an elk carcass in the backcountry.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks stated in a news release Wednesday that “a small group of hunters” shot the bear as the animal charged toward them on Oct. 3 east of Gardiner.

The hunters were not injured and the incident is under investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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The encounter occurred during Montana’s early rifle-hunting season in Hunting District 316. The bear was a 3- to 5-year-old female without cubs.

It was not clear how quickly the hunters had acted in processing the elk carcass to avoid attracting grizzly bears. Bears are extremely active at this time of year as they try to add calories before hibernating.

“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,” Fish, Wildlife & Parks stated. “Bears will be active throughout the general hunting season.”

–Grizzly bear image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons