MT Hunter Shot During Grizzly Attack

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Dept., Bear Hunting Magazine
10/20/2009

Montana sheriff calls hunter shooting during grizzly attack an accident

The state of Montana and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release no information pending completion of an investigation, the Park County Sheriffs office in Livingston, MT found no negligence when one hunter accidentally shot his friend last Saturday while trying to fend off a grizzly that was attacking the friend. The grizzly was killed, but the hunters arm also was hit in the struggle.

Were satisfied on our part that the shooting of the person was an accident, said Sheriff Allan Lutes.
The sheriffs office conducted a joint investigation with other agencies, Lutes said.

Lutes said he was speaking strictly on behalf of the sheriffs office, not for U.S. Fish and Wildlife or Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Two hunters were tracking what they believed to be a black bear near Cooke City at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

They entered a grove of very dense, second-generation pine that was 6 to 8 feet in height when their quarry, which actually was a grizzly, jumped one of the hunters.

He was yelling at his partner to shoot the bear, Lutes said. The first shot struck the hunter in the arm. Subsequent shots hit and killed the grizzly, which Lutes said was estimated to be 20-25 years old.

It was a big boar, Lutes said. The guys were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Lutes said negligence is not an issue. The other hunter was trying to save his friend.

It doesnt point to anything but an accident, Lutes said. Lutes did not release the hunters names but does advise using extreme caution while prowling the hills and forest for game. These hunters need to be very careful, especially in thick areas, Lutes said.

Grizzlies are foraging, trying to add body weight before entering winter dens. Theyre not in good humor right now, Lutes said.

In this scenario, the hunters probably never saw the grizzly coming in the thick timber.
"I dont think they had a heads-up the bear was that close, Lutz stated.



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