Montana hunter kills grizzly bear near hibernation site

A Montana hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear in apparent self-defense Saturday as the bruin charged the hunter.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the adult female grizzly bear, which had no history of conflict with humans, “appeared to be digging a den where the encounter took place.”

Grizzly bears are foraging in advance of hibernation and the hunter apparently surprised the animal. The incident occurred near Ennis in the Gravelly Range in Madison County.

Gravelly Range in Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks stated in a news release: “This time of year is when bears are active for longer periods as they prepare for hibernation.

“This period overlaps with hunting season and other fall recreation activities. Hunters should be aware that bears will remain active throughout the general [hunting] season.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act and can only be killed legally in cases of self-defense.

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

–Generic grizzly bear image courtesy of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Story originally appeared on For The Win