FWP investigating grizzly bear death in Cabinet Mountain Wilderness

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A grizzly bear like this one was recently shot by backpackers in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the death of a grizzly bear from a reported self-defense shooting in the Cabinet Mountains south of Troy.

Two backpackers from Sanders County reported shooting an adult female grizzly bear in self-defense on a forested trail near Dad Peak in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness. The reported surprise encounter occurred along a section of trail with huckleberry bushes. The incident occurred Aug. 2 and the individuals notified authorities Aug. 4 after exiting the backcountry.

The incident remains under investigation.

Over the years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has been doing a grizzly bear augmentation project in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, moving bears from the continental divide to the Cabinet-Yaak.

Only about 55 to 60 bears live in the Cabinet-Yaaks, despite its large size. The Cabinet–Yaak Ecosystem encompasses approximately 1,000 square miles in the Yaak River drainage and 1,620 square miles in the Cabinet Mountains. The ecosystem is bisected by the Kootenai River, with the Cabinet Mountains to the south and the Yaak River area to the north.

FWP reminds recreationists to “Be Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps to prevent conflicts, including making noise, especially around berry patches, densely forested areas and near streams. Bear spray is an effective deterrent and everyone is encouraged to carry it in the outdoors.

More safety information is available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website, fwp.mt.gov. Residents can call FWP regional offices to learn more about bears or to report bear activity. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.

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