Grizzly Bear Euthanized After Capture Near Hungry Horse Reservoir

Wildlife officials euthanized the subadult male grizzly after repeated encounters with humans

By Micah Drew
A grizzly bear in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem seen on Sept. 12, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Wildlife officials killed a grizzly bear that was approaching humans and damaging watercraft along Hungry Horse Reservoir after determining the subadult male bear was food conditioned, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).

FWP officials captured the grizzly on July 17 along the east side of the reservoir on the Flathead National Forest and euthanized the animal. The bear had repeatedly approached people near Murray Bay and had damaged several boats beached on shore over the weekend. The boats did not have food attractants on board and the bear did not respond to attempts by the public to use loud noises to move the bear away from the area.

Based on reports and video footage, wildlife officials determined it was food conditioned and habituated to humans and that it posed a serious risk to public safety and to the animal. FWP euthanized the bear in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines, according to a press release from the agency.

The agency asks individuals to report bear conflicts as soon as possible.

To report grizzly bear activity in the northern Flathead Valley and Eureka area, call FWP wildlife management specialists at (406) 250-1265. To report bear activity in the southern Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062. To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320. To report bear conflicts on the Flathead Indian Reservation, call the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program at (406) 275-2774.

Those recreating in bear country are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it.

For more safety information, visit fwp.mt.gov/conservation/wildlife-management/bear/be-bear-aware/bear-encounters.