GREAT FALLS - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) said in a news release on Wednesday that after confirming that a collared grizzly bear killed livestock along the Rocky Mountain Front north of Choteau, FWP assisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services in euthanizing the bear after obtaining the necessary approval from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The bear had first been captured and collared in 2021 in a trap set due to cattle depredation. It was unknown at the time if the trapped bear had killed the calf or was scavenging the carcass, so it was collared and released on-site.
Later in 2021, the bear was documented to have visited two other livestock conflict sites (one calf and one sheep), confirmed by trail camera and collar data, but it evaded attempts to capture it at that time.
On Sept. 5, landowners reported another sheep had been killed, and FWP and Wildlife Services technicians responded and confirmed the sheep was killed by a bear.
Collar data from the bear showed it was present at the kill site at the time of the conflict, and after obtaining USFWS approval to lethally remove the bear, the four-year-old male bear, which weighed 386 pounds, was shot and killed on Friday, September 9. The hide and head from the bear were salvaged and will be used for educational purposes.
In related news, Choteau mayor Chris Hindoien said on Sept. 8, "I can confirm that there was a grizzly bear trapped just south of Choteau this morning. Chad and Daniel with Montana FWP have the situation under control."
Grizzly bears are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and final authority regarding management actions are up to the USFWS.