Shot grizzly bear was 399's cub

Bear shot next to gut pile near Ditch Creek, WY was one of the famous cubs of GB399.

There has already been one post on this, long debates, and one person removed from posting over this incident. The dead cub (no longer a cub when shot) was confirmed as one of 399’s three cubs.

Story. Jackson Hole Daily. Dead bear was 399 cub. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, WY. October 23, 2009

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For newcomers. Why was grizzly399 famous?

The Saga of bear 399. By Todd Wilkinson.
There is also a premium article in the Wildlife Art Journal.

Grizzly mom No. 399 ready to send cubs packing. No. 399 finds a new mate, meaning kids have to fend for themselves. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide. May 21, 2008.







  1. jdubya Avatar

    “”Westmoreland was armed with a .270-caliber rifle and a .44-caliber pistol but was not carrying bear pepper spray. He shot the bear with the rifle from about 40 yards as the bear dropped to all fours and faced him, according to Game and Fish. The bear was shot first through the chest and then in the mid-body area on its left side. The bear died five feet from the moose carcass, according to the report.””

    oh, so he was not charged by the bear but instead the bear just stood over the moose to claim the food. And this guy felt threatened by this? little man, big guns. glad he was legally charged for the crime: hopefully he won’t get the opportunity to hunt for a long while. obviously he doesn’t know jack of what he is doing.

  2. JB Avatar

    “There has already been one post on this, long debates, and one person removed from posting over this incident.”

    Far too much time on this blog is spent condemning (and defending) the behaviors of others. It would be nice to spend more time talking about solutions.

  3. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    “The science indicates that bears that are habituated to people are less likely to act aggressively toward people” Steve Cain. Really, so 399 attacked a human and 615 was killed by a human at close range displaying obvious aggressive behavior. Seems to me the science stated above is less than accurate.

  4. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    JB – you have a great point. Here is a place for all of us to start. Bear spray has serious limitations: 1. The Choteau incident a prime example – no time to deploy bear spray. 2. Wind – clearly in the Northern Rockies this is a serious issue, not just the user being downwind of the “target” but also dispersal of the spray in a crosswind. In addition, this would be the most likely scenario of an encounter – the bear having no scent warning of a human approach. 3. Bear spray will not pentrate the wall of a tent. If more people would understand and accept these facts then common ground on the issue of “bear spray requirements”could be agreed to. By the way I carry bear spray EVERYTIME I fish, hunt or hike.

  5. mikepost Avatar

    Seems to me that this is the type of issue which should be getting covered in mandatory hunter education classes but as far as I know is not. Some other jurisdictions with hunts in areas with other sensitive populations even have a mandatory hunter briefing the day before the seasons open that you must attend or you can’t hunt that covers things like this among others. That covers the hunters, how we get to the uneducated hikers, campers and fishers is a good question.

  6. Ryan Avatar


    Its an interesting idea, but the geographically vast areas combined with the fact that many are in camp upwards of a week before the season starts would make it unfeasible. More information printed in the regulations may help, the biggest problem is habituated bears which tend to be a bit more agressive than other grizzlies combined with little hands on bear knowledge makes for a bad situation.

  7. Mike Avatar

    ++Far too much time on this blog is spent condemning (and defending) the behaviors of others. It would be nice to spend more time talking about solutions.++

    Solutions are hard to implement when many people simply don’t care. The behaviour illustrated by these wannabe John Waynes is very common. These are largely people who can’t or won’t learn new tricks.

    I can just see the guy in this story, beady eyed, huffing and puffing as the grizz, 40 yards away drops to all fours. Rather than have bear spray ready for a charge that never happened, he anxiously fires away because he’s a coward.

  8. Alan Avatar

    Talks with: All I’ve ever said about bear spray is: Require hunters to carry it as an OPTION. Use it where it is appropriate, and only where it is appropriate. The case where the hunter shot his partner trying to “save” him is a perfect example. Use common sense in deciding where to go hunting. The pheasant hunter in the buffalo berries is a perfect example of that.
    The problem as I see it, is that too many hunters have a, “I have a gun so I’m invincible” attitude. Obviously not all feel that way. Apparently you don’t. They need to use common sense.

  9. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    What it is going to take is a mandate from the National Office of Hunters Education to add to the course guidelines for instructors, I know several people who have requested this be added to hunters education on a regional basis, but not much response from those in charge. It would also be beneficial to add if/then scenarios to the classes with illustrations to specifically address some of these situations.

    I can accept a bear being killed in self defence, but this clearly was not a self defence situation, and I am glad the hunter is being prosecuted.

  10. Mike Avatar

    ++That covers the hunters, how we get to the uneducated hikers, campers and fishers is a good question++

    The problem is the grizzlies don’t end up dead from the hikers. They aren’t even close to being a problem with bear mortality except for the people that feed them, and then again, how is that different from bear baiting season? Idaho has state sanctioned bear habituation.

    These are the options:

    1. close down certain areas to hunting
    2. enforce mandatory hunter education classes (yeah right)
    3. enforce bear spray ownership in country with decent grizz numbers
    4. IQ tests for gun purchases

  11. Alan Avatar

    “…..Seems to me that this is the type of issue which should be getting covered in mandatory hunter education classes ”
    Absolutely agree with that. If you are hunting in grizzly country you have to attend a class. Period. Right now I know that bear hunters in Montana have to take a brief test on line to prove they can identify black and grizzly bears. I’ve taken it myself…kinda fun. It looks like you can take it repeatedly until you pass it, though. Is there any other required training?

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Despite the best efforts of many, no, there are no other educational requirements to hunt in bear country in Montana, I would like to see it mandatory when you purchase your hunting license if your going to be hunting in certain areas or apply for tags in certain areas. I know there are refuges around the country, that if you are going to hunt, you must take a class before hunting..

  13. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Yes, bears end up dead after encounters with hikers, its not the hikers killing them, but many times they are at fault due to their uneducated ways around bears and the state or the feds end up killing them, so hikers get bears killed as well..

  14. Alan Avatar

    “4. IQ tests for gun purchases”
    That would eliminate 90% of hunters! No offense to them, an IQ test for drivers would eliminate 90% of them! Same goes for parents, etc.
    I agree with 1-3. How about 4: A test on hunter safety. Example: Identify habitat where you are likely to encounter a bear (hint: buffalo berry thickets in the fall).

  15. Jeff Avatar

    Talk With Bears-This is correlational research, there are always outliers. 399 didn’t kill that guy at Colter Bay, and 615 didn’t charge, they were both pretty tolerant towards people as they see them a lot. Bears in remote locales are not as tolerant. You also talk about all the scenarios where bear spray is ineffective and I agree, this case was clearly an example where had the hunter had it 615 might be alive and adding to the population in a few more years.

  16. Bob Caesar Avatar
    Bob Caesar

    Hopefully some good may come from the unfortunate loss of this beautiful, young bear. She her Mom, her sister and brother were indeed seen by thousands of people. They are likely the most “famous” grizzly bears anywhere in this day and age. Hopefully some of the thousands who enjoyed watching her grow up will become a voice for the continued, intelligent protection of her kind. Hopefully, her death will cause everyone, hunters or not, who ventures into grizzly country to think twice about what they will do if and when they see a bear.

    Hopefully all her friends will find a venue to express their frustration at her death in such a vile, demeaning and pointless manner.

  17. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    To all – the logisitics of bear spray education or information regarding hunters. Currently in Montana an archery hunter must complete a certified course or sign an affadavit stating that he or she has some type of certification from another state as to the same. So, how about a course or booklet or test before licensing similar to bear ID?

  18. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    People have been trying to get it included in the training for quite a few years now, NBEF has resisted including the information in their training as well, hopefully someone a bit higher up with finally see the light and the state will make this type of information mandatory.

  19. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Save Bears – what is the basis/argument of the resistance?? Is it to the education or the requirement?

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    In my opinion it is the requirement that is bothering people, the education is actually quite simple and not hard at all, I remember the same type of resistance when Hunters Education became mandatory and when the Bear ID tests became mandatory..

  21. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Saves – thanks for the information. As I see it, the best chance for us to get more bear spray into the woods is to “sell it” for a lack of a better term. How about we sell it as the second line of defense? Many people already feel this way so, more could be educated in that direction. The reasoning could be for the replacement of a knife worn on the belt – I would rather fight a bear close in with spray than a knife, it is taking the same space/place of something that someone is currently utilizing (not just something else to carry) – with roughly the same weight factor. Maybe the catch phrase could be – Replace the knife Save your life. Just a thought.

  22. izabelam Avatar

    Too bad that 399 lost her cub (grown up cub). 399 was such agodo mother. I watched for showing the cubs how to dig for roots and how play. I have pictures of her cubs playing near Jackon Lake Lodge.
    The bear was shot near the gut pile. Who left the gut pile? Probably a hunter who did not care and did not give a s$%t
    So sad.

  23. izabelam Avatar

    I hope 399 can have more wonderful cubs. 615 was a young healthy female. Too bad we will not see her cubs.
    What would be a fine for the hunter…nightmares..every night…


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.

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