Just on the heels of the announcement that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear will be taken off the endangered species list, there are reports of grizzly bears killing livestock in Central Montana over the weekend.
According to sources near Stanford, two young male grizzly bears killed three calves on the Surprise Creek Colony and one calf on neighboring ranch. The local sources have reported that USDA’s Wildlife Services captured the bears on behalf of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The bears were reportedly taken to Great Falls were Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is holding them.
Northern Ag Network has reached out to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 4 staff and is waiting for a response.
With the population recovered and expanding eastward on the plains from the Rocky Mountain front, grizzly bears are a great concern to the residents of rural Montana.
It is important to know who to call if your livestock is being harassed or killed by grizzly bears or wolves. The first entity to call is USDA’s Wildlife Services. The Montana office is (406) 657-6464.
As Northern Ag Network reported in June 2016, ranchers can't shoot grizzly bears when they are harassing livestock. Producers can do little besides hope the bears move on before killing livestock. When the bears are relocated by FWP,they often return. Even hazing has become a grey area with the distance a rancher is allowed to chase or scare a bear away from homesteads or livestock up for debate.
Update: 2/26/17 5:00 PM
Northern Ag Network spoke with Greg Lemon the head of public information for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks today. FWP collaborated rancher reports that a total of four calves were killed on two ranches near Stanford, MT on Sunday. The livestock were reported to be killed either later Friday night or early Saturday morning. Both USDA Wildlife Services and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks worked to set up trapping efforts to capture the bears. The grizzlies were two young male siblings.
One bear was captured in a snare. The other bear was field darted. With grizzly bears originating from the Rocky Mountain Front being on the endangered species list, the federal entity which overseas the species is USDA Wildlife Services. It was recommended to Wildlife Services that the bears be euthanized. The two bears were euthanized early this morning (Monday 6/27/17).
There were several reports from concerned locals over the last week. Some saw the bears 14 miles west of where the livestock was killed just a few days prior to the event. Montana FWP says their local biologist were in the field working with landowners and ranchers in recent days to locate the bears. It was determined this past week it was a priority to capture the two bears.
A few weeks ago, there were reports around the Great Falls area of two young male bears venturing eastward. FWP’s Greg Lemon said that “we are relatively certain these are the same bears. They have been photographed by landowners and the public several times.” He also added “we have had several reports of them along the way.”
Grizzly Bears are becoming more common and more of a problem as they venture away from the Rocky Mountain Front. It’s reported that there are over 1000 grizzly in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana and Idaho. A population that has become well recovered under the endanger species list.