First grizzly in recent memory seen at Montana refuge

AUGUSTA- An adult male grizzly bear was euthanized after raiding occupied backcountry camps west of Augusta.

A roughly 300-pound bear was put down September 7 after the federal Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Services decided the bear was given food by a human and was repeatedly causing trouble in the area.

According to Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Warden Captain Dave Holland the bear had caused five incidents over seven days and hazing attempts were not successful in getting him to leave.

“This bear was food-conditioned,” said Mike Munoz, District Ranger with the Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest in Choteau, “It got a food reward somewhere in the Sun River drainage. It approached people as close as 20 feet.”

Munoz also said that anyone who has a bear encounter, especially when the animal gets a food reward, should report the incident as soon as possible.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks have some storage guidelines for anything that can attract a bear including garbage, game carcasses, and pet and livestock food, to keep yourself and others safe. They say any attractants must be:

  • Suspended at least 10 feet up and four feet out from any upright support, such as a tree or pole. And when possible, at least 100 yards from sleeping areas,
  • Stored within an approved and operating electric fence,
  • Stored in an approved bear-resistant container, or
  • Attractants may be attended during the day rather than stored. But all attractants must be stored at night unless cooking, eating or preparing food for storage.

All wildlife carcasses within a half-mile of any sleeping area are required to be stored in a bear-resistant manner, and all carcasses, parts, gut piles or other remains are recommended by FWP to be kept at least 100 yards off of a trail or daily-use area.

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