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Shot grizzly

In this July 6, 2011, file photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. A federal court hearing in Missoula on Thursday may decide whether Yellowstone-area bears lose their protection under the Endangered Species Act.

A Pennsylvania hunter seeking black bears mistakenly shot a 500-pound grizzly bear in the Swan Valley on May 20.

The 18-year-old male grizzly was killed in the Piper Creek drainage west of Condon in the Flathead National Forest. The hunter reported the incident to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks game wardens.

Black bears rarely exceed 250 pounds at maturity in Montana. Grizzly bears cannot be legally hunted in Montana, and black bear hunters are required to pass an identification test before purchasing a hunting license. Montana’s black bear hunting season ended May 31.

The case has been turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish. The hunter, whose name has not been released pending completion of the investigation, did not claim any self-defense reason for killing the grizzly, Tabish said.

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Natural Resources & Environment Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter for The Missoulian.