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Grizzly Bears Migrating East!

Last week a 450 pound male grizzly bear was euthanized by the USDA after it was confirmed that it killed a beef cow in the Big Snowy Mountains south of Lewistown. That’s right, Lewistown! This is way outside the current home range of Grizzly bears in Montana. The Snowy Mountains are located in east central Montana which are way east of the Belts or Judith Mountains which aren’t known to have grizzly bears either. Montana FWP said the bear was reported the week before after a remote camera captured it on a cattle carcass. Traps were set and the bear was caught with two more cows falling victim to the grizzly. It was determined the bear was about five years old and because of the location, age and sex of the bear which helped officials determine for it to be put down. 

This has been the furthest east I’ve heard of a grizzly bear showing up in Montana. DNA from the bear will be used to determine where he came from. This is a classic sign of a young boar being out competed in his home territory so he traveled a great distance looking for females and for a new home range. This is a sign of high densities of bears in their current territories which forces young males out and has become more and more common the past few years. We have seen wolves do the same thing, an example being male wolf (OR-93) traveling over 1000 miles to California from northeast Oregon. A couple years ago another young male made the same route and was found shot dead in California. That mystery still remains unsolved. 

As grizzly populations grow across their traditional homerange, expect more and more of these occurrences to happen. Spring time is the busiest time for wildlife officials as dozens of livestock bear conflicts across the West end up in relocations or euthanizations. 



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  1. Hmmm. Makes no sense ? How can these Grizzly expand their range ? They are managed and we have an ideal population goal and a “management region” they should inhabit ?

    Should that region include grizzly’s being allowed to expand into each Western city ? Where does the boundary stop ? Did anyone sit the bears down and let em know they are trespassing and don’t belong there ? I watched the Bambi movie and the animals seem to communicate and abide by the rules – right ? What am I missing ?

    Maybe someone could come up with an idea that a certain number of bears is an ideal number? Then maybe they could use a map say they that number they came up with should only reside in the area identified on a map? If the number gets too large maybe there is a way to lower it ? Any ideas how ? It’s so confusing and difficult to figure this out! Hopefully someone can get a degree or use wildlife science and rules and Regs to figure it out and “manage” this situation ? Please someone figure out and help !

  2. Maybe we should contact one of those liberal judges in California who put a stay on the delisting proposal and have him ask the bears to please stay in their designated areas.
    Or maybe someone from the Sierra Club or Friends on the Animals could help with that.
    What did they expect?
    This whole predator protection issue is really about generating money for liberal causes that include destroying hunting and western ranching. That’s the real issue and design. They really don’t care about the bears or the wolves or any other wildlife.

    • From what I’ve heard from talking personally to predator lovers is they want it to be what it was like when Lewis and Clark were here. At least 50,000 grizzly bears across the landscape. And there is no limit to the number of people that are attacked or die from grizzlies, because after all its the persons fault being in their territory.

      • The landscape can not handle the Lewis and Clark days bear population. If they want it like it was back then, we should bring the bison back to the plains as well, and get rid of the big cities.

  3. Mr. Friel you are spot on amigo ! Its easy to become some conspiracy nut these days because when you observe things with any sense of common sense or rational judgement- you come up totally confused with how the hell any logic applies to efforts by these “outside” of hunting entities ? First someone pushes for introduction or re-introduction, ok fine, we agree with that, since we don’t lose sight that Elk had to be reintroduced. Then we agree on area(s), fine, they have to put in an area with habitat (not Downtown Chicago), then we say how many could live in that area based on what they EAT and how much food is in that area, simple so far? Then we say that number is 100 or 1000 or a million bears? How many ? Now what – its too many – Jesus what can we do? Now the logic seems to fall apart here forward. Is it “reneging” on the original idea? They said “introduce in this Area” then they said “this many” now there is this many and in this area. Back to the White man speaks with forked tongue ! He said XYZ now he says ABC? Liars, manipulators. The bigger question is why would they turn around and say something else? Conspiracy enters the mind. However, its not conspiracy its an underlying dishonest Agenda where the Hunting Community is waaaaay out-gamed but liberal, Institutionalized, Suburbanized, Citiized (not a word), persons that have no connection to wildlife except in some idealistic that animals should just naturally co-exist. Bunch of crap !

  4. All interesting points, but they have been “around the area” for awhile. FWP Montana not forthcoming with information, for sure. Have spoken with LE in Malta, Havre, Zortman area and they have all said the “Griz” do come through the area more than the “public” really is aware. The corridor is a natural, look at a map. The famous “Breaks” are ideal habitat, upper flats with miles and miles of deep covered gorges along the Missouri, yep, classic original Grizzly habitat. Many of us bowhunters have been wondering how long it would be before someone is mauled in the area of the Breaks, seems to be only way to get any FWP information or interest out to public.

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