Rare grizzly of the Cabinet-Yaak, wounded, apparently turns on hunter’s partner and kills him-

Note that the story below has been superseded. The hunter who ended up dead was shot by his partner as the grizzly attacked him. The bullet was, of course, likely meant for the bear. Matters are still being investigated as of 9/29.  Here is a link to the newer story.

– – – – –
Sept. 17. Two men from Nevada were hunting black bear on on the Idaho/Montana border near Canada. This is remote country where a low density grizzly bear population clings to existence. One hunter  shot what he thought was a black bear, wounding it; but it turned out to be a male grizzly bear. They tracked the wounded grizzly into thick vegetation.  The grizzly then attacked and killed the other hunter — the one who had not wounded the bear.  After some difficulty (many shots) the hunter killed the grizzly as his partner lay dying.

It is not clear from the information so far if they knew it was a grizzly soon after the wounding shot or later when one man was dead.

The two hunters were part of a hunting party of four. They had split into two pairs.

It seems like a classic case — wounded grizzly attacks those who wounded it, but it is easy to predict already this will be a case where the politicians have a field day.

As far as legalities go, a lot depends on when they knew this was a grizzly bear.  An investigation is, of course, underway.

I haven’t put up a link yet because the stories in print are incomplete.

Here is some information from 2007 on the local grizzly bear population. In it, there is a discussion of the grizzlies in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem. Yesterday, I received a copy of the latest 5-year review. It is a very large document which is not yet uploaded here. It did say, however, that the grizzly population in the area has declined since 2007.

– – – –

Update:  Ok, Here is a Reuters story by Laura Zuckerman that gives a lot more information. Wounded grizzly kills hunter tracking it in Montana. By Laura Zuckerman.

-more. Additional information about this incident. One or more of the men had relatives in the area, which probably explains Nevadans hunting bear in such an obscure area. The bear was in its prime and 400 pounds, not a young grizzly as first reported. There has not been a fatal encounter with a grizzly in this area for a long time, if ever, although the grizzly  bears have always been there, though in low numbers for a long time.  There have been a number of efforts to augment the grizzly population in area. This has kept the population nearly stable (a slight decline over the last 5 years).  This incident took place almost exactly on the Idaho-Montana border.


About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

125 Responses to Illegally shot, wounded grizzly kills hunter on the Idaho-Montana border near British Columbia (updated)

  1. Thanks Ralph for this story. I feel for the man and his family but at least the facts of the case won’t make more grizzly bear hysteria . . at least if they report it correctly. It seems like in many bear fatalities all the facts are not made public in order to protect the dead or guilty. This lack of facts adds to the fear that these bears are hiding in the bushes ready to rush out and rip off the faces of people who have done nothing. Many times there is a perfectly explainable reason someone got attacked by a bear.

  2. SAP says:

    Ralph – the headline you put on this is by far the best I’ve seen so far. Good work.

    I have mixed feelings here on criminal charges against the shooter. He better hope the deceased’s family really really likes him or he could be up for a civil suit, too. The shooter created this situation with an illegal act.

    The cases that politicians love to freak out over – the recent famous case in North Idaho, the others over on the Rocky Mountain Front — involved bears on private property, possibly attacking livestock.

    THe courts have established that you can deliberately put yourself in a situation that may lead you to have to defend yourself or others from a grizzly, in the process of non-lethally trying to protect your property livestock whatever from a grizzly.

    This case is way different. I think he should be charged with illegally killing the bear based on the initial wounding of the bear. Of course, with three fatalities in the lower 48 so far this year, one is tempted to abate hysteria by having no charges at all. But the law is the law, and the facts are the facts. We can be reasonably certain the bear would have died anyway; we can also be reasonably certain that he probably wouldn’t have attacked had he not been illegally wounded.

  3. Immer Treue says:

    This is the type of case where hunters should police their own ranks. The guy simply did not identify what he shot. This unfortunately lead to the death of his partner, for which the shooter bares responsibility. No other way to look at it. Bottom line, the shooter did not properly identify his target, something for which all hunters should hold him accountable. Time for the, well anyone could have made this mistake, excuse to disappear.

    • Mike says:

      “This is the type of case where hunters should police their own ranks.”

      That’s a pipe dream. Hunters just look the other way. A very small portion doesn’t but their voices aren’t heard.

  4. Pronghorn says:

    Check out the graphic that KPAX (Missoula) uses for bear attack stories…hysteria, anyone?


  5. Mike says:

    Wow, who could’ve guessed that hunters wouldn’t use sound judgement? These must be the mythical “they live near the land so they know better than most” types that are so knowledgable they can’t properly distinguish a grizzly from a black bear before shooting it.

    What a waste of a rare grizzly bear that was just minding it’s own business. There are 45 in that ecosystem, so this is a real blow. This activity is outdated. It’s time to give the wildlife a break.

    More to this story here:


    • WM says:

      These guys were from NV according to the article. We don’t yet know what they individually or collectively knew about black bear or grizzlies and their respective behaviors. Sad ending for the bear, for sure.

      And while I feel for the families of these hunters, it appears it was the younger one at age 20 who created the problem by first shooting a bear he could not properly identify (presuming he was legally hunting for a black bear). Then having created the problem the older, and perhaps more experienced, person tried to fix it.

    • Mike says:

      The other, “$1000 case” is just as sad. What’s wrong with firing a warning shot first? The mother and the other cub seemed to respond to that just fine.

      Both of these stories are ridiculous and never should’ve happened. And once again, it’s goofs walking around with guns that cause the problems.

  6. Elk275 says:

    There is a very informative article in the Missoulian, about the grizzly killed in May where the shooter recently was fined $1000, plus there is an 6:00 P.M update on the latest incident.


    • CodyCoyote says:

      The $ 1000 fine is low IMO . Federal law for taking an endangered specie can result in a fine of up to $ 50,000 or even $ 100,000 in the case of grizzlies, depending on circumstance. Defense of human life being directly threatened by a bear is the determinant for a light or no penalty , but defense of livestock or property is not just cause.

      But in the end it comes down to the Judge and the prosecuting attorney. The first case prosecuted of an ilelgal wolf kill where the wolf went ” off the Reservation” from Yellowstone and was killed near Red Lodge MT was prosecuted by US Attorney Dave Freudenthal before he became Wyoming Governor. Freudenthal hated the whole notion of wolves. It was his job to prosecute the perp , which he did successfully, then asked the judge for a very paltry sentence. I recall it was only $ 500 or maybe just $ 1000 , but no more. It could have been $ 25,000 and should have been more than what he got.

      Laws are only as good as their enforcement.

  7. mikarooni says:

    Remind me again; what exactly is the purpose and point, in this economy, of spending your kids’ college money to go out and hunt bears, any bears, black or brown?

    • Mike says:

      I don’t think there is a purpose, good economy or bad. It’s just people getting off on killing shit.

      • william huard says:

        These bears are just trying to survive, not bothering anyone, and they are under continuous assault by these thrill killers. With their numbers so low, I cannot believe any state would not require hunter ID training before sending them out, especially people that may be unfamiliar with grizzlies. They mortally wound this grizzly and then they are surprised when he is out for blood? He kept coming! Well Geez- these hunters know now who is at the top of the food chain.

        • Savebears says:

          The state of Montana does require bear identification before the purchase of a bear hunting license, the state of Wyoming does not require it, but strongly suggests you take their online training course.

          The state of Idaho is currently working on an online system for bear identification, no word yet if it will be require or voluntary.

          All three states should make it mandatory that you have passed the bear identification tests before you purchase a bear hunting license.

        • jon says:

          Another grizzly bear killed by a hunter, what else is new.

    • Elk275 says:


      ++Remind me again; what exactly is the purpose and point, in this economy, of spending your kids’ college money to go out and hunt bears, any bears, black or brown?++

      What if those involved took the family on a float trip down the Grand Canyon with the cost of the bear hunt and the float trip exactly the same. What exactly is the purpose and point, in this economy, of spending your kid’s college money to float the Grand Canyon. Some people want to float the Grand and others want to hunt bears. The last I knew both were legal if the party/parties had either a float permit or a bear permit.

      Bear hunting is legal. I have been told that several times of bear hunters taking the hide to the taxidermist and the taxidermist thinks it is a grizzly and calls fish and game. Then game wardens and biologist among there selves disagree whether it is a grizzly or a black bear, this is from people who have internal working of the agencies.

      • mikarooni says:

        Hunting bears in this day and time is nothing more than completely senseless thrill killing. If a particular bear is posing a problem, that’s a different and rare situation that should be addressed; but, there is no overpopulation of bears, black or brown, and are very few problems with black bears, especially in that area. Deliberately going out into that kind of remote area to kill black bears, just for fun, is unwarranted thrill killing and nothing more …and the amount of easy money you and your friend, the 8th grade educated realtor, make as shills doesn’t change it one bit.

      • jon says:

        Yes, I think everyone knows that bear hunting is legal. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to a certain population of people. Many find hunting bears deplorable. Why would hunters from another state go to another state to hunt bears for food when their own state has plenty of food sources?

  8. Mike says:

    I was taking photos of a nice black bear in Glacier this summer when a woman set up her gear next to me. She asked me what it was and I said “black bear.” After she viewed the animal with her lens, she said, “nope. That’s a grizz.” I said, “look at the muzzle.” It was obviously a black bear.

    When a car pulled up, the driver asked me what I was filming and I said “black bear,” and this seemed to set the woman off. She shook her head and said “It’s a grizzly, no way is that a black. Glacier is my backyard, I live over in Whitefish. I know this area like the back of my hand.”

    I told her that since Glacier is federal public land, it’s everyone’s backyard. She snickered and insisted it was a grizz, and then asked where I was from. There’s no question I was amused when a park biologist walked by and identified the bear as a black bear.

  9. JEFF E says:

    I believe that with the exception of self-defense of your self or another the burden is on the hunter to make a legal shot/kill.
    As it was the deceased that made the mistaken identity (an assumption)leading to the wounding of the bear and the other was acting in the defense of another I would be surprised if any charges were brought.

    • JEFF E says:

      oops. my bad.
      it looks like there may indeed be charges as the survivor was the one who did not properly identify the target as required by statute.

  10. I would like to point out that here is another instance where guns are maybe not the most effective tool. . going into thick brush after any wounded animal is dangerous. Has anyone on the blog ever gone in thick brush after a wounded animal . . how is it best done?

    • Savebears says:

      As a bowhunter, I carry spray with me, going into thick cover is always going to be a scary situation with any large animal, including Moose, Elk, Bears(Black or Grizz) If I was in this situation, I would have probably called for more help before tracking, Whether a grizz or a black, they were in a bad situation, and it sounds like a string of errors made for a situation that was not good.

      I have read that the hunters thought it was a black bear until it was killed and pulled off the body of the dead hunter, but it was still a very dangerous situation, black bears are just as dangerous as grizz when wounded and will attack.

      Wounded animals make for dangerous situations, I have also read, that these hunter studied the bear for quite a bit of time before making the shot. I do hope there is more in depth follow up without the sensationalism of the media.

      Bad situation all around..

      • Mike says:

        It’s amazing how often people carrying around deadly weapons in the woods ends up as a “bad situation”.

        Just leave the widlife alone.

        • Savebears says:

          No Mike, it is legal to hunt and we are going to continue to hunt, if you don’t like it, tough..

          • Savebears says:

            I will add, it is amazing how often bad situations happen with people who are not carrying deadly weapons, lets look at what has happened just in the last few months! Two dead in Yellowstone, last Year two dead just outside Yellowstone…..hummmm perhaps those not carrying deadly weapons should leave wildlife alone..

        • Elk275 says:

          Mike there is a legal hunting season in all fifty states. As long as there is a legal hunting season, hunters are going to hunt — get over it and the sooner the better.

          • william huard says:

            Yeah, Save Bears and Elk, those thrill killers that just killed the grizzly including the one that lost his life continue to tarnish any credibility that “hunters” are responsible stewards of the environment. Why don’t hunters police themselves? That’s a joke….

          • Savebears says:

            William, what the hell are you talking about with the “Thrill Kill” reference, I have hunted bears and the reason I did was for the meat, I am not unique, I like bear meat as I have said in the past..

          • WM says:


            ++Why don’t hunters police themselves? That’s a joke….++

            Actually, I think they hunters and the law enforcement of fish/wildlife agencies for which hunting licenses pay, do a decent job. There are always going to be people who operate outside the law in our society. All you have to do is look at the number of prosecutions, convictions, fines and populations in overcrowed encarceration facilities across this entire country for the full breadth of illegal activities that occur in our society.

            Singling out and being critical of hunters, or rather the small percentage of those engaged in illegal hunting activies is probably not a very well thought out comment. But, then, you have a pretty good history of not well thought out comments.

        • WM says:


          While you are being so sanctimonious, do recall grizzlies, for whatever reason, seem to injure or kill a fairly high number of humans compared to their small number, when they attempt to co-exist at higher human recreation densities. Although the animial is just doing what it needs to do in order to survive (fend of perceived competition, or threats to their young), it still happens.

          If I recall from past statistics for last year nearly 12% of the grizzlies in the NRM recovery area required lethal removal. You better get used to it, because as the population of grizzlies grows and range expands there will likely be similar encounter statistics – and maybe worse- in coming years.

          The wildlife management question is how to balance this apparent trend of wanting more grizzlies, and a desire for delisting, which apparently can again can only be accomplished with larger numbers (or Molloy or another federal judge) will keep them on the list. Or, maybe we should just accept the risks with attendant lethal management control, and possible injury or death to those who encounter them infrequently. And, do note, its not just hunters, Mike.

          • william huard says:

            WM seems to dismiss the fact that trophy hunters just shot the grizzly and wounded it. Forgot that one I see. Just once I would like to see “hunters” and their apologists take responsibility for this disaster. Instead of blaming the grizzly for “lack of positive coexistence” due to being shot at by thrill killers, look at the many lapses in responsible wildlife management and hunter education that made this disaster a reality.

            • Ralph Maughan says:

              William Huard and many others,

              Here is what I would like to see.

              1. Don’t treat those who hunt as though there were all alike. They are a varied group.
              2. Don’t treat those who don’t hunt as though they were on one side or the other.
              3. Don’t assume environmentalists are against hunting. It depends on what? how? when? and is based on the effects on the environment, not the individual animals, fish, etc.
              4. Remember too that ethical issues are not scientific issues.
              5. Finally wildlife management is not the same as wildlife research. Knowing what is does not necessarily tell you what you ought to do. Wildlife research is mostly science, but wildlife management is more than application of research. It is more than 50% politics (management of people).

    • Mike says:

      Well said, William. We go through this garbage every year during hunting season. It never changes.

      There needs to be a serious look at when and how hunters are allowed their fall slaughter in grizzly country.

      Also, I’d like to see some sort of permit system or strict approval requirement for these goofs who build houses next to the a national forest boundary and then put up chicken coops and pig pens, then complain about big predators trying to eat their stuff.

      Come on, man. Wake up.

      • william huard says:

        Thanks Mike, in between my usually “not thought out comments” occasionally I make a coherent point. I’ll work on it. Mike, maybe you could work on being less sanctimonious….

        • Mike says:

          lol. I guess I just need to “man up”, git maself a gun and go shoot somethin’.

          • timz says:

            At least the bear got one of them, even if it was the wrong one.

          • jon says:

            I cannot understand why someone would shoot a bear. For a bear rug? for its meat? to have it stuffed? for sport? I hope the hunter who shot the bear is fined and jailed. If hunters aren’t able to tell the difference between a black and grizzly bear, they shouldn’t be allowed to hunt bears. Bear hunting is something that needs to be go away. It’s a disgusting activity.

          • Savebears says:


            How many times have we had this conversation in the past? When I hunt bears it is for the meat, that means I EAT them and enjoy every single bite when I do. You have no idea of the motivation behind this hunting trip, based on some of the accounts I have read, they were hunting for meat.

          • timz says:

            And your point? I’ll leave behind a daughter and a couple grandaughters when I die but I can say with certainty it won’t happen while engaging in the illegal killing of wildlife.

        • ma'iingan says:

          You’re a sick individual. The man left two young daughters fatherless.

          • jon says:

            It’s not uncommon for people to have no sypathy towards individuals who kill wild animals for sport if they get mauled or killed by a wild animal. People in society are judged on what they do. I find people who kill wild animals for sport to be the sick ones.

          • Savebears says:


            You know they were sport hunting? As you call it? How do you know this?

          • Savebears says:

            I am one of the few that on many occasions stated that there should be a lifetime loss of hunting privileges if your caught poaching as well as a loss of your right to own a gun, I have advocated to have a poaching conviction be a felony, and not a misdemeanor. I am fully in support of 1 strike and your out when it comes to hunting violations.

      • wolf moderate says:

        I think that people who think that we have risen above what our previous generations have done are the sick puppies. So you guys think that we as humans are so above every other species on earth and therfore we should halt all hunting? Have you people no respect for the animals? Basically, you are saying that humans are so superior in everyway that they (the animals) have no chance…

        What if some want to go back to a simpler time? Could we divide the country-You people take East of the Mississippi and We will take West of the Mississippi? We’ll even give you Texas! 🙂

        Frankly I do not like the “chickification” that is/has happened in this country. No disrespect towards females, just quoting Rush Limbaugh lol.

        • jon says:

          Hunters have killed many many bears throughout the years. What is the big fuss when the tables are turned and a hunter is taken out by those wild animals they are trying to kill?

          • Savebears says:

            I don’t know what the fuss is Jon, why don’t you ask his daughters and wife!

          • jon says:

            I thought hunters knew the risks of hunting? This hunter was trying to kill a bear and the bear returned the favor by killing him. A bear has a right to defend itself against a hunter that is trying to kill him/her and that is what the bear did.

          • Savebears says:

            Pose your question to his family Jon, then get back to us..

          • jon says:

            I don’t know the man’s family, but I assume they knew the risks that their loved one was taken when hunting wild animals. These 2 hunters are the ones to blame for this particular situation.

          • Savebears says:

            Nobody said they were not to blame Jon..

          • william huard says:

            Jon, why bother arguing. Hunters have all this high tech weaponry, and the bottom line is the hunters were invading the grizzlies territory. Shoot a grizzly and there is a chance this could happen. The story said they were hunting for food…..I don’t believe that. It doesn’t make sense. The family knows the public has less sympathy for hunters that engage in killing for pleasure. I don’t know anyone other than Save Bears that says they eat bear…..

          • Paul says:

            I don’t revel in the death of anyone or anything. That being said I have a hard time finding sympathy for anyone who puts themselves in that type of situation. The bear was protecting himself from an unprovoked attack like anyone of us would. If I jump out of a plane for fun and my chute does not open it is my fault for needlessly putting myself in that predicament. I also wonder why if not for sport why someone would travel hundreds of miles from Nevada to ID/MT to kill something just to “put food on the table.” I am sure that there are plenty of food sources in Nevada.

          • Savebears says:

            And in reality William, you don’t know me..

          • jon says:

            Paul brought up a good point. Why would hunters from Nevada go all the way up to Idaho to hunt black bears for food? Do they have bear hunting seasons on black bears in Nevada? Although I tend to not have any problem with people hunting for food, something about killing bears and eating them rubs me the wrong way. The same goes with cougars as well. The only reason why hunters are able to kill bears in the first place is because of their guns and that’s really it. The bears stand little chance against those with high powered rifles. If you don’t believe me, just look at how many bears are killed by hunters versus hunters killed by bears. The hunter is the one with the advantage.

          • WM says:

            This is a difficult moral dilemma for me. While I feel very sorry for the family, and am sickened by the circumstances which brought this about, there is an element of risk to hunting that is an essential part of the lure of the activity for many who participate in it.

            It appears, based on where they were, these guys were on an adventure in a remote area. The question is whether they as a group and individually were prepared (emotionally and physically) for what happens when things go wrong.

            I think we tend forget about the consequences of taking risks, but this very country was founded by risk takers. A little off point, but still worthy of mention.

          • Savebears says:


            No matter the species, the hunter is always the one with the advantage, all through history, the hunter has looked for the way to have the advantage, wolves work in packs, bears work with strength, weasels work with speed and stealth, every single animal that is a hunter always seeks to have the advantage over their prey..

          • jon says:

            sb, have you ever mistaken a grizzly for a black bear or the other way around?

          • Savebears says:


            It is very much on point..there is risk in hunting, no matter which species you hunt. Unfortunately in this day and age, many seem to forget the risk, or are ill prepared for the risk.

          • jon says:

            William, if they were indeed hunting for food, it baffles me that hunters would fly over to Idaho from nevada just to hunt bears for food. There are plenty of food sources in Nevada as Paul mentioned. I never tasted bear before and I will never. I’d rather starve than eat bear, but to each its own.

          • Savebears says:


            Yes I have, but I have never shot either because I mistaken one for the other. I have taken pictures of bears I was sure were grizzlies until I got home and processed the pictures and realized they were black bears and have had the opposite happen as well.

          • Savebears says:

            That is 100% on point Jon, to each his own..

          • william huard says:

            My point is simple Savebears, I don’t know you you are correct. I do know that you kill to eat, and for that you deserve respect. I have no tolerance, sympathy, or respect for trophy hunters that kill for pleasure. When I see trophy hunters (four and five strong) killing male lions in Africa and the lion charges the hunting party I am not ashamed when I say that I hope the lion takes one with him.

          • Mike says:


            Yes I have, but I have never shot either because I mistaken one for the other. I have taken pictures of bears I was sure were grizzlies until I got home and processed the pictures and realized they were black bears and have had the opposite happen as well

            I hope you never hunts bears, SB. Sounds like you also need an eye exam. I spend weeks in one of the heaviest concentrations in the lower 48, and can easily ID any bear within a matter of seconds.

          • Savebears says:

            “Chicago Bears” no doubt Mike, you may spend time in the highest concentration, I actually Live in one of the highest concentrations of bears Mike..and I do it, 24/7 365 a year..

          • Mike says:

            Jon – Note how SB and Elk never come up with suggestions for this chronic hunter problem. No suggestions of heavier fines, strict testing for hunting licenses, ending hunting in places with endangered species succeptible to human ignoance, etc. Instead, we get a “whoops, sad story.”

          • Savebears says:

            Mike, I have on many occasions stated that bear identification tests should be mandatory, I have never once said, that it is ok to shoot a grizzly bear, thinking it is a black bear, I have always advocated for MORE education. I have never once stated I am in support of poachers, I have condemned predator contests many times in the past. So you are sadly mistaken, that I just say opps, sad story..

            You seem to read what favors your points of view and gloss over the rest.

          • william huard says:

            Or you get the “very small percentage of unethical hunters excuse” as these stories appear weekly….. the poaching, the bad decision making, or the old mistaken identity. Very rarely does the human pay the price- the animal always does

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            I spent three weeks in a tent among the bears, on three of the days a grizz mom and two cubs were in the creek thirty yards behind my tent.

            One night I woke up to ghastly noises of a very huge and distressed animal. I thought I was dreaming, so I shook it off and went back to sleep. I woke again to stomping and snorting, and elephantine breathing. I put on my headlamp, unzipped the tent and slowly rose. There, right smack next to my tent was a bedded down cow moose. She rose with me, then snorted and ran off into the woods. Her back hoof was actually touching the tent fabric. After mynerves calmed, I fell asleep an hour later, only to be awoken by something massive sniffing my tent. It was the moose again, and she had her face to the eastern side of my tent. She suantered off to the south, like nothing had even happened. That’s Glacier for you, right?

            In the Gallatin National Forest I was woken up by a bear at 2 a.m., which ran off when I cleared my throat (a common tactic I use to let them know I’m in there.)

            I actually spend time with these bears, sleeping on the ground where they frequent, photographing and studying them. The campgrounds I choose to stay in are bear heavy to say the least, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

          • jon says:

            but even with bear identification tests, there is still a chance that a hunter could shoot the wrong bear.

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            It goes way beyond that. There should be aptitude testing and perhaps IQ tests for those purchasing deadly weapons.

          • Savebears says:


            That is great, I am glad you have had those experiences, I have had many of the same types of experiences over the years, when I was working for the game dept, we spent many nights out in a tent and had many hair raising experiences. I have many hair raising experiences year around by simply stepping out the front door to go to town. This time of year get really interesting, I normally leave before the sun comes up and most days of the week, I run into something outside the front door. Living on the edge of Glacier park affords me much excitement..

          • Mike says:

            Jon –

            I know meat hunters who buy licenses for numerous states so they can fill up their basement feezers. These are the same people who drive Ford Excursions and toss their McDonalds wrappers onto the highway.

          • Savebears says:

            I don’t disagree Mike, but in the same vein, perhaps we should have an IQ test for those who drive or those who visit National Parks, perhaps the same requirement for those who live in cities that decide to visit the country, maybe you should have to prove you are worthy of visiting Montana, Idaho or Wyoming, you know you live in Chicago, and perhaps I should have to prove I am able to visit Chicago, you know, I do live in the wilds..

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            I don’t doubt that it’s exciting. I’ve encountered many of the racists, conspiracy theorists, and drunken goofs that call the Northfork home.

            Every day in the summer up there is “crack a beer when you wake up” day, it seems. And with kids in tow.

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            Do you think it’s fair to have strict tests when one is purchasing deadly weapons?

          • Savebears says:

            And Mike, I know anti hunting environmentalists that drive Land Rovers with leather interiors, hike in leather boots and spit their gum out on the trails, whats your point.

          • Savebears says:

            Mike, you have encountered a different crowd than I have in the northfork, but I believe you seek out that type of crowd, so you can say..I told you so, or this is what this area is like.

            Last time I visited Illinois, I got off the airplane at 5 am and went downtown, I saw many standing on corners dealing drugs, drinking beer and selling their bodies some with children in tow, seems we all have a certain segment of the population that rubs us the wrong way..

          • wolf moderate says:

            I understand how Jon, William, and Mike feel when a hunter dies. They feel happy and celebrate.

            To tell ya the truth I feel the same way when nuts like Timothy Treadwell meet there maker.

            Mike, one of these days you are going to make a tasty treat for a wild animal. Do you even carry a firearm? LOL, you kind of people crack me up!

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            Try to stay on topic. Those people aren’t killing endangered species every fall like hunters do.

          • Savebears says:

            So that is acceptable because it is not an endangered species Mike. Man that is going a ways…

          • Mike says:

            wolf moderate –

            I keep two canisters of Counter Assault bear spray, one in my tent and one in the left vestibule. I also carry a knife with a seven inch blade. The Counter Assault isn’t only for bears….

            Bears are not cute, cuddly “friends”. Nor are they blood thirsty killers. They’re intelligent, special creatures that deserve to live and enjoy the countryside without harassment.

            When boys evolve, they put down the guns and enjoy nature on its own terms, without have to blow something away. Part of it is an insecurity thing, the need to lug a massive gun around and kill things that are minding their own business.

          • Mike says:

            SB – Hunters keep killing grizzly bears every fall. What do we do about it?

          • jon says:

            Treadwell took risks and he paid the price for it.

          • Savebears says:

            Mike, we continue with the educational efforts, that is what we do.

            As far as evolving, I don’t hunt with guns any longer, I use a wood long bow with wood arrows. I also carry Counter Assault, I enjoy nature every single day on its terms..

          • wolf moderate says:


            You seem to know it all. You diagnosed every single hunter as having inferiority complexes. You also know that all hunters use guns. Interesting.

            Could you tell me what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa? You seem to be privvy to information that no one else has or knows. Geez…

          • Mike says:

            I’m glad you said that, SB. Good for you for evolving beyond firearms to a bow. The next level is to not hunt at all….

          • Savebears says:

            Don’t hold your breath Mike as over 90% of my meat comes from wild game, I don’t see me giving up hunting anytime soon..I like red meat and will continue to eat red meat, hence I will continue to hunt..

          • Mike says:

            SB –

            Do you thinks it would be fair to require anyone hunting bears in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana to pass a tough bear ID test?

          • Savebears says:

            Mike I have already stated that I believe all three states should require a test, with a 100% passing grade before getting a bear hunting license.

            What might be tough to you and me, may be easy to another, and what we find easy may be tough for another.

            I am 100% in favor of mandatory testing before getting your bear hunting license and have always been.

    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Linda –

      I have never followed a wounded dangerous animal. Three years ago, a friend and his wife were a short distance in from the shoreline on Admiralty Island, picking berries and he had along a 7 mm magnum — hoping they might also find a deer. A bear jumped his wife in heavy high-bush blueberry a few yards away and she dropped in a protective fetal position and alerted her husband. She got deep bites in her rib cage and leg when her husband yelled to distract it. It dropped her and charged straight at him — he shot from close-range and it immediately broke off the attack. I was willing to go back (with a powerful, open-sight bolt-action rifle) and help find it but nobody seemed very interested as he had seen no immediate blood trail. There was no snow and little bare ground, so unless there was a fairly steady blood trail we would likely either have found it dead nearby or not at all. If it was bleeding enough to follow very far, it probably would have died by the next day, but otherwise not been found. Very few people visit that area, so there was not great urgency as far as public safety. Certainly, planning and executing a pepper spray defense may have been more effective in that case, but it’s always hard to judge when things happen quickly. If she had remained upright but not been able to deploy the spray in time, her injuries could have been worse that using the old-school fetal approach.

      Generally, allowing plenty of time for the wound to take effect before trailing a wounded animal is advisable, so you don’t either push it much further away and lose it or, in the case of a dangerous animal, approach when it is still able to effectively fight back.

      • Interesting story SEAK . . . I wonder if the bear was surprised or if it was stalking. It does sounds like a place where a bear might be sleeping off a berry feast and too lazy to move until someone was too close. It really helps to be able to see signs of recent passage on vegetation and determine which berry plants have been recently worked over by bears. I think that following a wounded bear, black or grizzly/brown, would sort of guarantee an attack with the outcome in favor of the bear unless the humans were experts in tracking, pepper spray, guns and tactical movements. I am glad you didn’t go after the bear for your own safety and bears seem to have an uncanny ability to recover from wounds. We saw a bear that was so badly injured by another bear one time we thought he couldn’t possibly live. . he disappeared for days and then came back looking really skinny and bad. He came down to the lake edge and build himself a mud hole and packed his wounds with mud. He laid there for a whole day. Within a week he was eating and running around again and his fur had completely grown back. I just hope that before the growth of the human population completely wipes out bears we learn more about them as we don’t seem to know it all yet. The healing process of a bear might have great medical implications for humans, as well as their way of energy management during winter months. Since bears aren’t true hibernators their physical systems should be of great interest. As for the guys in this story, statistically men of certain ages have a high risk due to the manly “I can handle it.” premise that they seem to operate on. . sort of engage action and we will think about it later mentality. It is funny that people can call Treadwell an idiot and say he got what he deserved and not see this in a similar light. May you all live long enough to achieve wisdom.

        • WM says:


          I am inclined to think that for some males the secret of the “I can handle it” syndrome is to outlive high production of testosterone, spiced up with peer pressure dares.

          For others, they are lucky to survive only by chance, since you can’t fix stupid. I would put Treadwell in the latter catagory.

          For the guys in the current bear story, who knows. Maybe just a bunch of inexperienced folks on an adventure turned bad by lack of preparedness, poor choices, or chance. Possibly, even all of the above.

          I read comments like the one from Chicago Mike camping within 30 yards of a grizzly mama and cubs, apparently by choice, and I think another case of you can’t fix stupid.

          • Mike says:

            WM –

            I’ve been photographing and studying bears for years, so I’m quite familiar with their behavior. The sow and cubs decided to feed on berries along the creek for close to three days. My tent was already pitched when they arrived.

            Bears play a large role in my what I do, and someday you might find out why. 😉

          • WM says:


            I do think I understand the motivation, and your desire to photograph/document what you see and experience, possibly even as a living.

            The larger question is whether you fully understand the risks and are willing to accept the consequences if something one day unpredictably goes sideways.

            I dislike analogies, but here is one that is appropriate. James Michener’s book, “Mexico,” goes into great detail about the art of bull fighting (the book is about much more but uses the activity as a metaphor). He is meticulous in describing how much time is spent by the matador, picadors and other participants in studing the bull, and how it moves, anticipates, responds and even learns, in the ring. Matadors put their lives on the line voluntarily (for profit, recognition and excitement), and most of all take pride their ability to read the bulls. Yet, every year a fair number die or are seriously injured because the bull did something unpredictable, even in light of the matador’s studious attentions.

            In life, there are good managers of risk and not so good. In your case, time will tell.

  11. Mike says:

    This page has the family commenting:


    Ugh. More fluff about “stewards of the land, etc etc”.

    • william huard says:

      But the bear was black in color…..that makes it a black bear right? What other characteristics of animal physiology does a hunter need before making the shot….

    • SAP says:

      Man, that is some sad stuff over there. I really think there is nothing redeeming about those comment sections. The only rationale for having them is to pump up site traffic so advertisers will buy space there.

      It’s worth looking at those comments to see the tendency to find an exculpatory story for those involved. Namely the wildly improbable idea that they DID shoot an Ursus americanus, only to have a bad ol’ arctos come barging in to eat their original quarry, then charge them when they went to retrieve the “other bear” that they had legally shot (for food, according to the thread).

      Short of producing the Ursus americanus carcass as proof, I think we’ll have to go with the simpler explanation (only one bear in that thicket, the grizzly they shot thinking it was a black bear). The necropsy likely won’t prove anything as there won’t be much way to distinguish amongst the multiple gunshot wounds to the grizzly.

      • Mike says:

        SAP – I think what you mentioned there was a “what if” scenario presented by one of the posters.

        • SAP says:

          Yes. Would have never occurred to me. Sure, it could happen, but is improbable. Seemed like where the thread was headed was they were going to adopt that hypothesis as The Truth (easier to accept than a man is dead and two girls lost their father because someone made mistakes).

          The social cognitive neuroscience literature says we shouldn’t be surprised when people do that in the throes of grief and guilt.

          And, the experience with what people are willing to believe about wolves should make it unremarkable, too.

      • Nancy says:

        +Nevadamules 5 hours ago in reply to The Truth

        Your legal registration with the Montana Fish and Game allows you to support your family with sustainable food. Freedom of Speech is a wonderful thing if it is supported with experience and background knowledge. Know your facts+

        I’m obviously missing something here in the family’s take on this tragic turn of events. Drive (or fly) all the way from Nevada – air fare, hotel rooms, licenses, food (cuz it is all about substainable food, right?)

        And the result is one dead family member because someone failed to recognize the difference between a black bear and a grizzly and took a shot, and it appears a bear is also dead because of ignorance and the “rush” for a substainable food source.

        • Savebears says:

          What most seem to be forgetting, that this could have very easily happened if it had in fact been a black bear. In a wounded bear situation, the species does not matter..This is only getting as much press as it is because it was a grizzly, we would have heard very little if it was a black bear..and the black bear poses just as much risk as the grizzly in this type of situation.

          • Immer Treue says:

            This was discussed on another thread a few days back…


            Only variable is the mistaken ID of the grizzly.

          • wolf moderate says:

            I agree with that SB. My personal feelings in regards to hunting dangerous game is that you should be willing to accept what happens. If ya are going to hunt bears, cougars, wolves, Cape Buffalo, or any other dangerous wild game, you should know that you might die. If you aren’t comfortable with that possibility, don’t hunt dangerous game.

            Same goes with hound hunting. The hunter shouldn’t cry foul if/when there hunting dogs are killed…Seems obvious to me, but many of these guys think there should be no risk involved lol.

          • Ralph Maughan says:

            I agree with wolf moderate. A proper hunt for a large animal should have an element of risk. It is an adventure, or should be unless it is for meat alone. Even then, procuring food always has had an element of danger. Now it is more a danger in eating it . . . what did they spray on these potatoes? 😉

            I would never cheer the death of a person who was killed hunting in a legal way. On the other hand, those who think it should be risk free are weak and disgusting.

            What bothers me about this incident is that someone was killed and the bear was a particularly rare bear.
            – – – –
            I want to add that I am skeptical these people were hunting for food. Few eat bear, and for even those who do the meat is hardly enough to draw from Nevada to hunt next to the Canadian border. If they said, “a bear rug,” it would be more credible.

          • jon says:

            You’re right Ralph. It would make more sense if they were hunting bears either for a bear rug or for a trophy. Maybe they just said they were hunting for food because they didn’t want to piss anyone off. There tends to be some public backlash when there are stories of hunters killing bears either illegally or for sport. A lot of people are against hunting bears. It doesn’t make much sense to me that hunters from nevada would travel just to kill bears for meat. There are plenty of food sources in Nevada. These were most likely recreation hunters who view hunting as a sport. Hunting has turned into a recreational activity that hunters view as a sport. Since when did killing wild animals become a sport? Lord only knows.

    • william huard says:

      Did you guys read the other story from this station about the shoot on sight kill order for the tame white wolf that escaped from the wolf sanctuary? People in fear for their lives….the hatred for this species is truly shocking. read the posts….they are sad

      • jon says:


        Bob Fanning and Toby Bridges were at this pro-wolf rally in Montana

        One of the ranchers that was at this rally called for the eradication of the wolf in Montana. And ranchers sometimes call themselves stewards of the land. This same rancher who was at the rally said that wolves were imported illegally in Montana and were never in Montana before wolf reintroduction.

        • jon says:

          BTW Robert Fanning who is running for Montana governor in 2012 called the wolf advocates there sociopaths. Is wolf advocates are sociopaths because they stick up and defend wildlife, what does that make people like Fanning and Bridges who both advocate illegally killing wolves and using poison to kill them?

          • william huard says:

            These people need something…..lobotomies, strong anti-psychotics, a committment to preventing future generations would be a long range goal

          • Elk275 says:

            Jon what you are saying differs from what I read in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Yesterday I had to go 40 miles south of Ennis, Montana for an a contruction inspection draw and was not able to make the rally. The paper said that there were approximately 10 pro wolf supporters and were out numbered by pro wolf supporters. I wanted to go was not able.

            Each side had their story. One of the fish and game commissioner spoke and said that Montana is not going to manage wolves like Wyoming or Idaho, but wolves will be managed in Montana.

          • jon says:

            Ofcourse elk, there are more wolf haters in Montana than wolf advocates. That guy you mentioned who was a fish and game commissioners before said that wolves won’t be managed as predators like coyotes are. Fanning has no right calling wildlife advocates sociopaths when he is friends with Toby bridges. Toby Bridges advocates using poison to kill wolves. Mr. Fanning supports the “sss” way of doing things.

      • Mike says:

        Ignorance seems to be rampant in that part of the country.

  12. Getting off the road in the west always carries some risk. In my 71 years, I have been struck by lightning, charged twice by Grizzlies, treed by a seven point bull elk, had a couple of close calls with rattlesnakes,and fended off a large blackbear with my fishing pole when he wanted the salmon I had just landed. I have had close encounters with numerous wild animals and feel fortunate to have had the experience. It is part of being out in the wild.
    I feel that life should be an exciting adventure. I am looking forward to more of the same.

  13. Ralph Maughan says:

    This morning, I added a few details to the story in the original post.

  14. Ralph Maughan says:

    I have a very strong opinion on Social Security and Medicare, but I don’t think this thread is the place to discuss that.

    I will delete those comments when people make them.

  15. Elk275 says:

    Here is something uplifting. The swimming grizzly, the grizzly that swam across Flathead lake on Labor Day Weekend 2010. Camped out on the islands, rested, then continue to swim the next day. It is a good read.


    • SEAK Mossback says:

      Bears in this area have also been found to swim long distances but still seem genetically very insular in their populations. Apparently, they tend to go to a limited area to breed and, unlike the wolves, they don’t travel over the ice fields. There are some interesting results just being analyzed from genetic samples recently collected from 65 brown bears in Berners Bay, a small fairly isolated area north of here where I have also been working for many years with fish. They have been found to be genetically very distinct and almost as isolated a population as those on the big islands — Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof (that have been found more closely related to polar bears than other brown bears) — and very distinct from other mainland areas all around. However, interestingly, a couple of the bears have some genes from Admiralty Island, so there must have been at least one or two that swam over at some point and probably came right through where Juneau is. Another interesting thing about the population is they are finding that very few males do most of the breeding. They are still working on it, but one 16 year old male that has been captured a couple of times has accounted for a high percentage of the offspring for multiple generations — and he is not even one of the real monsters up there that are the biggest bears ever captured in this region. There is also a white male that has sired a couple of sets of cubs I’ve seen that looked like little polar bears, 1 or 2 pure white and others with a slight frosting of dark guard hairs, very pretty. There is also a beautiful strawberry blond coloration in some of the population that I fancy has been passed on by one particularly gorgeous multi-colored sow with snow white ears and dark legs that we enjoyed watching for close to 20 years.

      One advantage of this terrain compared with almost anywhere else is that rather than kill problem bears (mostly black bears), they have been able to take them for a boat ride to an isolated fiord or bay with good habitat but with geographic barriers and no people to bother and they very seldom return. However, now that they are finding all this uniqueness in populations it raises a serious question whether that should be done as it endangers genetic uniqueness.

  16. william huard says:

    If the end result in this unfortunate case is greater education in bear identification then at least that is one positive…With a population of just over 30 bears incidences like this cannot keep happening.

  17. Ralph Maughan says:

    I see Fox News has a story on it. The Fox News interviewer didn’t seem very happy that the “bear expert” he was interviewing didn’t launch a verbal attack on the grizzly, but rather had an “attitude of “what do you expect if you corner a wounded male grizzly?”


    It will be interesting if Fox News leaves this interview up.

    • WM says:

      I can’t say I was particularly impressed by the “bear expert.” He is young, has no academic credentials that appear in his biography, and is just another pretty TV face. It was Brandon McMillan host of Animal Planet, whose claim to fame is that he is an animal trainer/behaviorist, mostly with domesticated animals.

      A couple of his quotes: “Black bears are black and grizzlies are brown,” was one. Anyone who has been around knows that is not universally true. Then, there was the comment that it would take a grizzly, if shot, “20 minutes to die.” And, male grizzlies “don’t attack,” only mothers with cubs. Geez.

      I’d say there was a very good chance this young guy has not spent any time in the woods and doesn’t know squat about bears. He did get the basics right about grizzlies being more aggressive, and tending to feel cornered when injured. Not a good Fox interviewer or interviewee.

  18. Ken Cole says:

    It turns out that the man wasn’t killed by the bear afterall, according to authorities, he was killed by the gunshot from his own partner.


  19. Hank Lawson says:

    I can’t find anything specific online as to determine whether or not ignorance is a defense against charges of poaching or violations of the Endangered Species Act, but I would expect it doesn’t matter when or if the hunters knew they were hunting a grizzly bear. If Ty Bell and Steve Stevenson committed felony by poaching a grizzly bear, or merely mistakenly hunting a grizzly bear, then Ty Bell should be charged with felony murder, not manslaughter, for the death of Steve Stevenson.


September 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey