Hungry Bears Cause Trail Closure

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A hunter shot an elk Wednesday in Gallatin National Forest, Montana. The hunter did not have time to do much before multiple grizzlies were on the scene. The hunter left, and contacted authorities to let them know of the situation.

Officials deemed it necessary for public safety to close part of the trails in the area. Forest spokeswoman Marna Daley said Thursday the area includes the Beattie Gulch Trail, which will remain closed until the carcass is consumed. From


bear elk numbers in unit 361

I hunted unit 361 or Gallatin NF, this year (2011). We hunted hard in areas around west yellowstone. Drove all  forest service roads. Walked for miles in great looking habitat. Elk/ mule deer tracks are hard to find, found most around private land by town. There were lots of bear,cougar, and wolf tracks . We hunted in 4 day old  1ft deep snow, and come to the conclusion that the odds are better to see something that can eat you ,than shoot something you can eat.  I am not surprised that the bears took a hunters kill away . I will not be returning to unit 361 and would advise hunters to seek game in another unit with better elk/deer numbers.

hunter25's picture

Another story of a bear

Another story of a bear encounter this year. At least in this case the bears showed up after and the hunter was not directly attacked and was able to get away with no problems. It sounds strange to think the bears came in due to the sound of the shot but I'm sure it's true. You would think that there have been or will be more such encounters in the future if they have learned to eat like this. We had a sinilar situation this year but not a dangerous one while elk hunting.As soon as my dad shot his elk the crows started coming and actually waited in the trees ubtil we were finished and left so they could come in and eat. The animals learn very quickly how to survive.

COMeatHunter's picture

It sure seems like more bear

It sure seems like more bear encounters have happened this year than in past years.  Might just be me, but it sure seems like a busy year for bears.

A big part of the problem with this scenario is the bears not being afraid of the human hunter.  Other than hunting the bears, I'm not sure how you imprint the danger of humans on these bears so they quickly retreat when encountering a human rather than seem them as a source for a free meal.  If it happened as quickly as it sounded in the press release, the guy shoots and in just a few minutes here come multiple grizzlies.  Like the shots are the dinner bell!  Most critters run at the sound of gunfire.

Guess I'll just avoid hunting in the Gallatin area.  I don't really want to have bears taking my elk from me.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Man, I don't know about

Man, I don't know about that.  If I shot my elk, since I have never got one before, those grizzlies may be in for a fight if they try to take it!!!! lol

Well, I can't say I blame the guy for hightailing it out of there.  No elk is worth your life.  It's too bad that it had to happen that way.  You have to wonder if those bears were right there, maybe even stalking the same herd that the hunter was, or if they just responded to the smell.  They also don't mention if he had packed some out, then came back and there were bears on the carcass.  Sounds like it happened pretty quickly.

Anyway, I hope the guys at the authorities let him use his license on another elk.  I don't know how it works there in Montana, but some places say a kill is a kill.  Maybe he'll get a bigger one... Wink

Retired2hunt's picture

  That is just too bad... and


That is just too bad... and I guess the chance you have to take when hunting in Grizzly country.  I have looked on the internet for any more to this story but all 7 articles are of the exact same text... so I couldn't find out if the state DOW/DNR officials provided the hunter with another replacement tag or if he was able to just keep the one he never got onto the animal and continue to use it.  Hunting elk in the majority of scenarios is hard work and I can only imagine the disappointment of this hunter in not being able to harvest what he/she worked so hard to accomplish.  Hopefully he still has a tag and is able to make the time to go back out and harvest another elk.


numbnutz's picture

Oh man that really sucks to

Oh man that really sucks to have to leave your kill behind because the bears came in. I think the hunter did the right thing though. No game is worth loosing your life over and with all the Grizzly encounters this fall he very well could have been a meal himself. Maybe I missed it in the article but did the DOW give him a new tag. I know in some cases the DOW will refund you or re issue you a tag if something like this happens. I had a friend 4 or 5 years ago shoot a nice deer in eastern Oregon and when finally finding the deer after 3 hours he came up on the carcuss only to find a cat eating it. The cat took off with the majority of the carcuss and when he took the Game Warden out to the kill sit the Warden had him fallow back to town and he got his tag reissued. It wouldn't have need to be reissued but he punched it before recovering the deer.