The deaths of two female grizzly bears on the Flathead Indian Reservation this fall have prompted investigations from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
CSKT game wardens found a grizzly shot to death in a field near Moiese Valley Road and Kuntz Lane on Oct. 12. They found and captured a second female grizzly north of St. Ignatius around Lelery and Watson roads that had been shot in the face with a shotgun on Oct. 19. That bear had to be euthanized due to the extent of her injuries.
Both sows were lactating, indicating they had cubs of the year or yearlings traveling with them. The additional bears have not been found.
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The tribes and the FWS are asking for anyone who may have heard or seen anything related to either of these cases to call Tribal Dispatch at 406-675-2700 or the service special agent at 406-329-3000. Callers do not have to identify themselves and a reward of up to $3,000 is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The deaths come during a record-high year for grizzly mortalities in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes parts of the Flathead Reservation. At least 51 bears were known to have died or been removed from the ecosystem in 2018 (such as cubs that were sent to zoos or euthanized after their mothers were killed). Nearly all of those were human-caused.