Man Kills Grizzly Bear Near Olney in Apparent Self-Defense

A man told officials that he shot the bear after it charged him and two companions near Upper Whitefish Lake

By Beacon Staff

In the latest incident involving bears in the region, a man killed a grizzly bear near Upper Whitefish Lake after the bruin charged him and two companions, according to wildlife officials.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded to a report of the dead grizzly on Saturday. No injuries were reported.

According to a press release from FWP, the man told investigators that he and two other individuals were walking down an old logging road north of Olney and smelled something decomposing below the road. Their dog ran down and encountered a bear, then ran back toward the men with the bear on its tail. The men yelled at the bear, which then charged one of them.

One of the men shot the bear with a high-powered rifle and the bruin came to rest about 10 feet from one of his partners.

The men returned to their vehicle and reported the incident to the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. FWP Game Wardens Nathan Reiner and Wes Oedekoven responded to and investigated the scene. The wardens found a large dead male grizzly, estimated at 500 pounds, and an elk carcass that had apparently been cached by the bear, according to officials.

FWP will provide a report to an agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Great Falls who will complete the investigation. The FWS agent is involved because grizzly bears are a threatened species and the state and federal officers have concurrent jurisdiction.

Bear activity has spiked in recent weeks. A hunter near Choteau was hunting with his brother northwest of Choteau on Saturday when he came face to face with a 350 to 400 pound male grizzly.

A black bear attacked an elderly woman west of Kalispell two weeks ago, and the woman died days later in the hospital. FWP says it continues to search for the bear.

A grizzly bear in late September injured a Wisconsin man after the hiker surprised the sow and two cubs.

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