AUGUSTA – Authorities with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said they had to put down a grizzly bear Monday for preying on cows multiple times.
Mike Madel, the bear management specialist with FWP, said the bear was a larger 24-year-old male that was seen feeding on calves just Southwest of Augusta.
“It was one of the oldest bears I’ve ever seen,” said Madel, who captured and marked it in 1998. The bear had moved to the Sun River Wildlife Management Area on the Rocky Mountain Front, but hadn’t caused any conflicts since then.
When federal Wildlife Services captured the 551 pound bear, they found it had dental issues and in overall bad condition.
“It had several broken molars with abscesses and its canine teeth were worn down,” Madel said. “And it had signs of arthritis. It was on a downhill slide.”
FWP said the bear’s old age was a factor in its decision to euthanize the bear, in addition to the attacks on livestock. After talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the decision was made following Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines.