An adult female grizzly bear that was injured in an encounter with a bird hunter was captured near Ferndale and released Wednesday in the Spotted Bear Area.
About two week ago, a bird hunter shot at the female grizzly in what was described as a surprise encounter east of Bigfork. The hunter was unharmed and reported the incident immediately to FWP. The sow grizzly had a cub, and both bears were later found alive by officials.
During the past week, the bear and its cub were found on a road-killed deer along the Swan River Road near Ferndale so the decision was made to capture the bears and move them preemptively. After they were captured, FWP examined the adult female and found that her left eye had been hit by bird shot. FWP contacted local Kalispell veterinarian Dr. Dan Savage who provided medical care. After fully anesthetizing the bear, Dr. Savage removed the remnant of the grizzly’s eye tissue, applied stitches, and cleaned the area which had become infected. He also administered antibiotics. Prognosis for the bear is positive.
The Grizzly and cub were released by FWP Grizzly Bear Specialist Tim Manley in the Spotted Bear area near the wilderness boundary with the hope that the bears would seek to den in a remote area. Manley will continue to follow the grizzly bear’s movements.
The grizzly and cub were originally captured earlier this year along the east front of the Rockies and moved to the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.
Image courtesy Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks