The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Officials Kill Grizzly Bear Near Ovando

 


Wildlife officials shot and killed a grizzly bear early Friday morning less than two miles from Ovando, where a woman was killed in a grizzly bear attack early Tuesday morning.

The bear was killed at the scene of a second chicken coop raid that was very similar in nature to the one that happened in Ovando the night of the fatal attack.

Given the proximity to Tuesday’s attack, the evidence found at the scenes and the fact another chicken coop was raided, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials believe this is the same bear but confirming DNA analysis will take a few days.

The second chicken coop raid occurred Wednesday night, about 48 hours after the attack in Ovando. FWP specialists set a trap at the second coop on Thursday and USDA Wildlife Services specialists were monitoring the trap Thursday night when the bear approached and was shot. Wildlife Services specialists were assisting at the request of FWP officials, anticipating the bear would return to the coop. They used night vision technology to aid in shooting the bear.

DNA samples from the bear will be compared to samples taken from the scene of the fatal attack Tuesday to determine if this was the same bear. In the meantime, FWP staff will remain vigilant and keep at least one trap set near the first chicken coop on the outskirts of Ovando.

After two days of searching by helicopter and on the ground, the grizzly bear that killed a woman Tuesday morning had not been found. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bear specialists and wardens continued to monitor culvert traps set in the area.

The search even included the use of infrared technology from Two Bear Air Rescue out of Kalispell, but efforts to find the bear returned to focusing on traps near Ovando.

Details surrounding the circumstances of the attack indicate the bear entered town Monday morning and came to an area near the post office at about 3 a.m., where the victim was sleeping in a tent. Another couple in her party were sleeping in a tent nearby.

The bear initially woke the campers but then ran away. The three campers removed food from their tents, secured it, and went back to bed.

The bear was captured by a video camera at a business less than a block away at about 3:15 a.m.

At about 3:30 a.m. the two people in the tent adjacent to the victim were awakened by sounds of the attack. They exited the tent and sprayed the bear with bear spray. The bear pulled the victim from the tent during the fatal attack.

At some point during the night the bear also got into a chicken coop in town, killing and eating several chickens.

Anyone who spots a grizzly bear near Ovando should call the FWP Missoula office at 542-5500.

 

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