Grizzly bear that ate hens euthanized

Grizzly that wandered the Montana plains commits a final unpardonable sin-

Yes, and a year ago it ate some sheep. Two chickens this year were two too many.

It makes me sad because it reminds me that no matter what we fantasize, the bears and us are stuck in a depressed, overpopulated, bureaucratized world with little chance of change.

Grizzly bear that ate hens euthanized. Missoulian. AP





  1. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    Something new in wildlife policy circles in recent years has been the assigning of dollar values to endangered and trophy game animals, for restitution and sentencing purposes. It gives prosecutors and judges a tool they did not have before. For instance, in Wyoming a grizzly bear is valued at $ 25,000 replacement/restitution value. A trophy full curl bighorn might be $ 15,000. Trophy elk $ 12,500, and so forth. A common Cottontail rabbit is valued as high as $ 200 in Wyoming. Really.

    Under the endangered species act itself, the illegal taking of a grizzly might be ” assessed” at $ 50,000 or even $ 100,000. I’m all fpr this, not in an absolute way but to place the value of wlldlife in a context that everyone understands and can relate to —the dollar value of Everything. It always comes down to money sooner or later.

    My point: those were some mighty pricey chickens. Must be the Tiffany or Cartier breed. At least $ 10,000 per pound.

    ( By the way , what is the positive dollar value of a working Grey Wolf ? Nobody at Wyoming Game & Fish has ever tried to answer that question when I stick it to them . They choke on it. They have published valuation tables for all the other apex and meso predators , just not wolves….).

    1. Maska Avatar

      Cody Coyote: Can you give us the names of poaching defendants who have actually been required to pay restitution for taking various species? Other info, such as the species involved, the approximate date of trial, etc., would be helpful, too. I know someone who is exploring this issue and will pass along any info you can provide.

    2. JB Avatar

      We have a very complex formula here in Ohio for determining the cost of a white-tailed deer. Check it out:

    3. Cody Coyote Avatar
      Cody Coyote

      Maska— I’m not in the mood nor do I have the time to go to the Courthouse here in Cody to research dockets and fines, but restitution has begun to be applied in almost every case, of malicious poaching . Wyoming’s restitution law is relatively new. And it’s reciprocal with many other states…a violation in one state is treated as a violation in all of them , which is great.

      Steer your researcher towards the Wyoming Game Warden’s Association. They have several items of wildlife restitution cases posted there.

    4. Maska Avatar

      Thanks, Cody and JB!

  2. JB Avatar

    We also have a nifty formula for determining the value of other species. While I think it underestimates their value, I appreciate that it includes “aesthetic” value; in that respect, it’s pretty forward thinking:

    1. Maska Avatar

      Again, thanks, JB. I’ll give this and the other links to my friend.

  3. Richie G. Avatar
    Richie G.

    Wow they spent two whole days trying to find a zoo, yea tell me another one, looks like government is getting of wildlife.

  4. Richie G. Avatar
    Richie G.

    opps government is getting tired of wildlife concerns.

  5. Mike Avatar

    some might think a grizzly bear is worth more than two chickens.

    I guess not.

    $10 a gallon gas will solve these little problems in due time, and the grizzly can reclaim the plains once the hanger-ons are forced back to the cities. In the meantime it’s important to designate as much wilderness as possible, and to make sure these species maintain their numbers. If we can do that, the great grizzlies will return.

    1. JB Avatar


      $10/gallon gas is a pipe dream. We will find alternative sources of fuel (heck we already are!) that will bring down demand–and cost. Moreover, people will change their behavior (e.g. take mass transit) which will also bring down costs. All of this began to happen when gas was up above $3 a gallon, before the recession; and the effects will be more pronounced if gas prices go higher.

      Moreover, please recall that oil and gasoline are distributed on a global market and we are (still) the richest and largest consumer. If we–arguably the wealthiest people in the world–can’t afford $3 gasoline, do you think demand in places like China and India (or anywhere else for that matter) will continue to increase if gas rises considerably?

    2. Ryan Avatar

      Your dream of 10.00 a gallon gas proves that you are nothing more than an arrogant elitist urbanite who feels that everyone should live trapped like a rat in the urban maze that you subject your self too. For being so liberal and accepeting, you sure are a judgemental arrogant person.

      But hey, it’ll be good for your business selling virtual tours of the wild.

  6. pointswest Avatar

    It didn’t sound to me like he was killed for the two chickens. He was killed for being habituated to human food to the point that he returned to the plains after being relocated to the forest.

    Its too bad. Its too back Idaho would not take him in thier large wilderness areas.

  7. Elk275 Avatar


    ++little problems in due time, and the grizzly can reclaim the plains once the hanger-ons are forced back to the cities.++

    These hanger-ons own that property which they pay property tax. That property tax supports schools, roads, law enforcement and many other things. Private property is the foundation of the United States of America and it is the reason that this country is a great one. Whether we like grizzlies or not, it is still private property. Should the bear have been killed for 2 chickens, personally no. There is no way a grizzly bear can live in that open country and not have run-ins with people.

    1. Ryan Avatar

      Should the bear have been killed for 2 chickens, personally no.

      I agree, but the bear should have been killed for showing a pattern of behavior that involved associating humans with food.

    2. JimT Avatar

      I would check my facts. Most private property taxes are the primary funding source for schools, not roads, etc. And it is one of the most regressive taxes that exists, so often the not so rich get punished by increasing property values and ever rising taxes. If anything, schools would benefit from a change to an income tax..and communities as well. Perhaps old families could afford to hang onto family lands..

      Private Property..the foundation of the USA? Really? No life, liberty pursuit of happiness? Read Tragedy of the Commons, and then come and tell me that unfettered private property rights are a good thing. Tell that to the eastern half of the USA whose resources were decimated by unfettered pursuit of private property rights–forestry, mining to name but two.

      Tell me you would defend private property rights if the adjoining private property owner decide a hog farm was his way of making a living..I suspect you would looking into trespass and nuisance laws real quick.

      Bottom line..we share this planet, interdependency is the reality, not isolated living. What you do affects others in your society, and one doesn’t have the unfettered right to do what they please when they please, and damn the consequences.

    3. Elk275 Avatar

      Elk 375 says

      ++hanger-ons own that property which they pay property tax. That property tax supports schools, roads, law enforcement and many other things++

      In Montana 26.26% of property tax goes to roads, bridges and law enforcement, so some of the tax goes to roads just as I said. Plus there are SID’s which I just found out that I am behind on. I do know that my property taxes are a pain in the ass to pay every year — ~$2500, but that is the privilege of being able to own property.

      So I checked my facts, so you check your facts.

      Jim, Do you believe in the private ownership of fee land? I do know a number of people who work in the environmental field and several of them who have rich parents with large land ownership have mentioned that some of the posters on this forum are anti-property rights. They may love wolves and the environment movement, but we do not allow anyone but family on there property. My property ownership is 1/18 of the condo complex, but I do defend a person right to own land. If a predators are killing animals then they have a right to defend their property.

      I check out “Tragedy of the Commons” in Wikipedia and it talked about a herder putting one more cow out in the pasture. He was the only one to benefit from the additional cow and the rest of the population lost out. This sounds like Mongolia, I have traveled across that nation and it is one of the most over grazed landscapes in the world.

  8. Tilly Avatar

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: making the world safe for chickens, one grizzly at a time.

  9. Kropotkin Man Avatar
    Kropotkin Man

    Some of you boys are a bit edgy today, let’s not forget there are 6.8 BILLION of us now and we have to get along.

    Technology will prevail but only if you pay taxes?

    I love this site, Blessed Be Tilly!

    1. JimT Avatar

      Blame the heat…

  10. Angela Avatar

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks: making the world safe for chickens, one grizzly at a time.
    I think I’ll make a bumpersticker.

    This story saddens me. Fish and Game always tells you to contact them if you see such and such a species, like a wolf in Oregon. Considering all the invasive research going on these days, they are the last people I would tell.

    I hope that person isn’t planning on eating those valuable chickens! That’s one expensive dinner.


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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