grizzly bear
A grizzly bear at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: L. Hupp/USFWS

Antler Hunter Claims Self-Defense in Grizzly Killing

The man said the grizzly bear charged him.

Montana wildlife officials say a man searching for shed antlers shot and killed a grizzly bear during an encounter on private land northwest of Wolf Creek.

According to last week's press release, the man, who has not been identified by name, was walking along a ridge covered with low trees and brush with his two dogs on April 25.

With the wind at his back, he saw fresh grizzly bear tracks in a snow patch. As he continued along his path, he saw the bear standing near the top of the ridge about 20 yards away.

Then, the bear dropped to all four legs and charged the man, who drew his handgun and fired five shots from about 30 feet to 10 feet. One bullet grazed the bear and another hit and killed it.

The man was not injured in the encounter and he was not carrying bear spray.

Officials describe the bear as an adult female in good condition. They said it weighed around 300 pounds and was an estimated 12 years old.

The bear also had a single cub-of-the-year nearby, which was later captured by wildlife officials and taken to a rehabilitation center in Helena, Montana.

In the statement, officials said they are currently looking for placement for the cub at an accredited zoo, and that the incident remains under investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.