‘Highly aggressive’ grizzly bear charges and bites vehicle in Montana, officials say

NPS Photo / Mary Lewandowski

A “highly aggressive” grizzly bear charged, struck and bit a vehicle in Montana, wildlife officials said.

After the bear’s “unusually aggressive behavior towards a landowner,” it was euthanized near Bynum on Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a Sept. 23 news release.

The landowner first saw the female bear, estimated to be about 4 years old and weighing about 350 pounds, when it “emerged from a small cattail patch” on a farm road and charged his vehicle, the news release said.

“He returned with another person in a second vehicle, and the bear again charged, struck and bit the vehicle,” the news release said.

Due to the bear’s “aggressive behavior,” trapping and relocating it was not an option, the news release said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted wildlife managers permission to “euthanize the bear immediately in the interest of human safety,” officials said.

The cause of the bear’s aggression could not be pinpointed, according to the news release.

“It did not have cubs, and there was no food item or carcass that could be found in the area,” the release said.

The bear had been relocated from the Blackfeet Reservation to the “southern Mission mountains in 2020” after a “residential conflict,” officials said.

“The hide and head from the bear were salvaged and will be used for educational purposes,” the news release said.

To avoid conflict with bears, wildlife officials say people should:

  • Carry and use bear spray as a “non-lethal bear deterrent.”

  • Not allow grizzly bears to linger around the home, as it “can lead to habituation.”

  • Never feed bears, as they can become food-conditioned. It’s also illegal.

  • Remove or store anything food-related in “bear-resistant containers.”

Bynum is about 170 miles northeast of Missoula.

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