A grizzly bear was euthanized Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services after it was confirmed to have killed a cow in the Big Snowy Mountains south of Lewistown, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks reported.
The bear was first reported two weeks ago after a remote camera captured images of it feeding on a cow carcass. Traps were set over the weekend following the discovery of a second cow carcass with bear sign nearby. Wildlife Services technicians confirmed the bear had killed both cows.
The male bear, which weighed 447 pounds and was estimated to be 4 to 6 years old, was trapped on private land Wednesday morning and euthanized, after consultation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services.
Factors influencing the decision included the age and sex of the bear, as well as its location well outside of identified connectivity corridors between the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide grizzly populations. FWP will collect DNA samples from the bear to determine its origin.
FWP is warning farmers, ranchers, homeowners and outdoor recreationists should be prepared to encounter grizzlies as their population and range expands east of the Rocky Mountain Front. Grizzly bears are still protected under the Endangered Species Act, and final authority regarding their management is up to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.