Support Local Journalism


A female grizzly that had taken to drinking soda pop and eating food from coolers was euthanized by state biologists on Wednesday as a state bear expert expressed frustration with campers who failed to secure their food in bear country.

"It is always frustrating to have to make this type of decision and remove a bear for things that could have been basically prevented by people," Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear specialist Kevin Frey said on Thursday.

Frey said the West Yellowstone-area grizzly, which he said was about 10 years old but did not have any cubs, had gotten into " a lot" of soda pop, a cooler, garbage and bird seeds.

"Those types of foods could have been stored, be them in vehicles or buildings. The garbage, same thing," he said. "And in the middle of summer there's no need for a bird feeder."

Most recently, the bear had been "frequenting" a private campground west of West Yellowstone, and it was clear from the bear's behavior that it had become accustomed to finding food near campgrounds and houses.

"We'd done electric fencing, emergency noise rounds, hazed the bear with vehicles. The bear was not aggressive, but it was just so comfortable being around people that it was hard to persuade her to stay away," he said.

The bear was captured on Monday. Frey said the large population of grizzlies in Montana made it impossible for biologists to find an area to relocate the bear where it would not be close to campgrounds or other human development.

The bear was euthanized at the state wildlife lab on South 19th Avenue in Bozeman.

Daniel Person can be reached at or 582-2665.


Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.