AVON – Wildlife officials euthanized a male grizzly bear on May 24 in the Ophir Creek area northeast of Avon. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife specialists said the bear had been in the area consistently for the past month and killed several cows on a local ranch earlier this week.
The most recent cattle depredation was confirmed on May 23, and USDA Wildlife Services crews set traps on the site that evening. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to have the bear euthanized due to its history of cattle depredations and persistence in staying near livestock.
Multiple grizzly bears have been observed in the area this spring, and FWP and Wildlife Services having been working with local landowners to help secure livestock by removing bone piles and other attractants that can draw bears in. Despite these efforts, this bear remained persistent.
In early May, a different male grizzly was captured in the same location and relocated to a more remote location away from livestock and has not returned to the area.
Producers can reduce the risk of depredation by electric fencing small calving pastures, pens, and corrals. Distributing livestock away from brushy cover and creeks during the spring and early summer when bears frequently travel along these areas can also help. Additionally, putting salt, mineral, and creep feeders out in the open away from brush and water can prevent problems. Removing or installing electric fencing around bone piles can also prevent bears from being drawn in near homes and herds.
In and around towns, attractants can include still other things like pet food, garbage, barbecue grills, and bird feeders. These sorts of items should be secured to prevent attracting wandering bears.
FWP specialists work diligently to help landowners and communities avoid bear conflicts. To reach the FWP west-central Montana bear specialist, call Jamie Jonkel at 406-542-5508. In cases of depredation or wounded livestock, call your local USDA Wildlife Services agent.