Hunter kills grizzly sow, mortally wounds cub on Rocky Mountain Front

The grizzlies were storing up reserves for winter at the Blackleaf Wildlife Management area. (Missoula Current file photo)

An archery hunter killed a sow grizzly and wounded her sub-adult cub this week on the Rocky Mountain Front.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists later found the cub, which was euthanized because of the severity of its injuries.

Here’s how Montana FWP described the incident in a written account on Thursday:

The hunter was in thick brush along a creek bottom in the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area.

He encountered the sow, and shot and killed the bruin with a pistol. He also shot and wounded a 2-year-old cub. A second cub was in the area but was not shot.

The circumstances surrounding the shootings are under investigation by Montana FWP and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

State officlals also encouraged other hunters in the area to be cautious because many grizzly and black bears use the Front as they forage for food and gain weight for winter’s hibernation.

Unfortunately, that foraging coincides with archery season in Montana and can often lead to bears and hunters being in close proximity to one another.

“Hunters should always use caution in grizzly bear country, which is anywhere in the western half of the state,” FWP said. “Hunters should hunt with a partner, let people know where they are going, have bear spray with them and be ready to use it, and be on the look out for bear sign in the areas they’re hunting.”