Another Grizzly Bear Euthanized After Killing Calves in Montana

Grizzly bears on the prowl have become a nuisance for western ranchers. ( Jacob W. Frank / Nat'l Park Service )

For the second time in nearly a week a grizzly bear has been euthanized after it killed multiple cattle in Montana.

On May 1, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) euthanized a young male grizzly bear along the Sun River near Fort Shaw after reports of multiple livestock depredations. Just eight days earlier, a grizzly bear was captured and euthanized about 85 miles southwest near Helmville for also killing cattle.

The latest case involved a 383 lb. bear that had allegedly killed three registered Angus calves and injured three more calves. The young grizzly was captured at the depredation site by officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

During the same week that the bear was captured there had been five other calves go missing in the area.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advised FWP to euthanize the bear because of its history with livestock depredations. The decision was also in accordance with Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee guidelines.

Other Cattle Killings by Montana Grizzly Bears

In addition to the bears that were euthanized within a week’s time in northwestern Montana, there have been several other cases of cattle depredation committed by grizzlies in the past few years.

Last June, an adult male bear was euthanized in southcentral Montana after killing at least four cattle. That area of the state has seen more grizzly activity due to its close proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Then in October, a grizzly killed a calf on a ranch near Two Dot after the bear had ventured out of its traditional territory.

In June 2017, two sub-adult male bears were captured and euthanized after killing cattle near Stanford, the farthest east that grizzlies had been seen in 100 years.

Grizzly bears are still listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. For a short time grizzlies were temporarily delisted last year. Protections for grizzly bears was reinstated by a federal judge in September, halting what would have been the first grizzly hunts in the Lower 48 states since 1991.