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September 11, 2012 7:54 am

Grizzly euthanized near Heart Mountain

Written by Gib Mathers

A 3-year-old male grizzly bear that was haunting the Heart Mountain area was destroyed early Friday morning.

The bear was euthanized because of fears that the human-habituated bear was a danger to humans, said Luke Ellsbury, Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore biologist.

“It’s been here all the week,” said Shelly Lehman Friday. “I learned about it, I think, on Monday (Sept. 3).”

Lehman lives on Lane 12, one mile west of Kamm’s Corner.

Last week, she was going for a stroll in her locality, as she is apt to do.

She said a neighbor asked her, “Didn’t you know there is a grizzly in the area?”

She did then!

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department advised her to pack a gun or bear spray for walks.

She was watching shadows during the day and skipping trips to her mailbox after dark. She was nervous at night unloading her sweets from her vehicle after throwing a Dove Chocolate party.

“It was kind of unnerving,” Lehman said.

Last week, a motorist reported nearly hitting a bear on Badger Basin Highway (Wyo. 294).

The bear had been camping in a corn field during the day. He consumed a neighbor’s dead calf, raided garbage and ate Russian olives, Lehman said. He was munching corn and apples, too.

The bear was in the early stages of hyperphagia, seeking and consuming as many calories as possible in preparation for hibernation. Bears’ focal point is food during hyperphagia, when they are endeavoring to build fat reserves. Around the second week of October they will become sluggish and preoccupied, Ellsbury said. 

On Thursday night, the bear was caught in a trap and was euthanized the next morning. The bear had previously caused property damage in the Dubois area and had been relocated in the upper reaches of the Clark’s Fork River drainage last year. He was a human-habituated and human-food-rewarded bear, Ellsbury said.

Ellsbury said he trapped the bear near Wyo. 294.

On Friday morning, Game and Fish employees allowed Lehman to examine the bear. She said she was relieved when she saw the lifeless bear. The grizzly didn’t have the typical dish face, but he did have a hump, and his fur was grizzled. She lifted a paw that was mighty heavy.

“He was beautiful, actually,” Lehman said.

In the last five years, three grizzly bears have been trapped on the east (Powell) side of Heart Mountain. Black bears, grizzly bears and mountain lions pass through the Big Horn Basin. They normally are nocturnal. Often, tracks or scat will be seen before the animal is.

It pays to be vigilant. “You need to expect the unexpected when it comes to wildlife,” Ellsbury said.

4 comments

  • Comment Link September 12, 2012 5:34 am posted by Mike Hirsch

    Again a grizzly is destroyed just for being a bear and doing what bears do in the autumn - eat and eat some more high calorie foods. These sensless euthanizations of grizzlies will only prevent the sportsmen of Wyoming from eventually being able to hunt these bears and manage them by hunting. There was talk of a spring 2013 season on grizzlies - but I can see that the quota for grizzly deaths will be to high in the greater YNP ecosystem in 2012 to convince any organization that it is a good idea to hunt the big bears. Poor decision making - bear should have been transported to a wilderness area via helicopter.

  • Comment Link September 18, 2012 9:11 pm posted by Mike Hirsch

    The following is from the Casper Star Tribune posted Sept 18. Why the difference in treatment of the grizzly bears????
    I am glad they are still alive.


    CODY — A female grizzly bear that was causing problems at a campsite northeast of Jackson has been relocated along with its three cubs.

    The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says the bear had raided grain for livestock and caused property damage. Biologists trapped and moved the four bears Friday to a remote area east of Yellowstone National Park.

    The release area is 15 miles southwest of Crandall.

  • Comment Link September 19, 2012 3:43 pm posted by Mike hirsch

    Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Sept 19, 2012. Again a wildlife agency uses common sense in future grizzly management. mdh

    A female grizzly bear and her cub, who have been killing cattle southeast of Red Lodge since July, were captured this week in a joint effort between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and USDA Wildlife Services.

    Shawn Stewart, FWP wildlife biologist in Red Lodge, said officials confirmed that the female killed six cows and calves on a ranch in the Bear Creek Basin southeast of Red Lodge this summer. She is suspected of killing four additional cows.

    The 5-year-old, 360-pound female was captured and tagged in 2008 as a yearling in Wyoming, just south of the Montana border, when her mother was caught killing cattle. Because of her history with depredation, there is no place in the northern Yellowstone ecosystem that she could safely be released, Stewart said. As a result, the female was euthanized. Her hide and skull will be used for education.

    The cub is being held by FWP awaiting an opportunity to send it to a zoo. Because its mother and grandmother had a history of depredation, it is unlikely to be released into the wild, Stewart said.

    The bears were trapped southeast of Red Lodge in a rolling sagebrush pasture on private land that traditionally is not considered grizzly habitat.

    Biologists first noticed the bear and confirmed reports of depredation in the Bear Creek Basin on July 15, Stewart said. They have been trying to capture the bear since.

  • Comment Link September 21, 2012 3:25 pm posted by Mike Hirsch

    Grizzly moved from Big area to west of Cody Sept. 21, 2012 Billings Gazette


    CODY, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has trapped and moved a grizzly bear that was frequenting an area used by livestock west of Big Piney.

    The department moved the adult male grizzly to an area 50 miles west of Cody.

    The bear was moved Monday to the Mormon Creek drainage north of U.S. Highway 14-16-20, a place already inhabited by grizzly bears.

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