Hunter kills grizzly he mistook for a black bear; second grizzly shooting death

An out-of-state hunter mistakenly shot and killed a grizzly bear in the Swan Valley after confusing it with a black bear, state wildlife officials said Monday.

Dillon Tabish with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said the agency responded to the incident on May 20 in the Piper Creek drainage on U.S. Forest Service land.

The adult male grizzly bear weighed 500 pounds and was approximately 18 years old when it was killed.

The hunter, from Pennsylvania, told FWP game wardens that he mistakenly identified the quarter-ton animal as a black bear. The incident occurred during the spring hunting season for black bears, which ended May 31.

The individual had a license to hunt black bears and reported the incident to officials.

It was the second grizzly killed in as many weeks in northwestern Montana. Also on May 20, state officials retrieved the carcass of a grizzly bear shot and killed alongside Forest Road 4859 near Libby.

That incident remains under investigation.

Grizzly bears cannot be legally hunted in Montana and black bear hunters are required to pass an identification test before purchasing a black bear hunting license.