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A hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear in the Tom Miner Basin this weekend, telling officials the bear was attacking him.

The man wasn’t hurt, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the incident.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear management specialist Kevin Frey said the man was elk hunting and came upon a bear “at very close range” and killed it.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office filed a report Sunday morning that said the hunter had shot the bear about one mile from the Tom Miner Campground northwest of Gardiner.

Frey said the incident was “unfortunate,” and that bear encounters can happen anywhere, anytime.

“They’re unpredictable,” he said.

Investigators are planning to interview the man. They aren’t sure of the sex of the bear and aren’t sure if they will be able to visit the site where it happened because of the weather. They also could not say how long the investigation might take.

This incident comes on the heels of two other grizzly deaths in recent weeks, one in Gardiner and one in West Yellowstone. In both of those incidents, hunters reported shooting the animals after bear spray failed to stop them from charging.

Grizzly bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1.

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