No Charges Filed in Self Defense Grizzly Killing

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Glen FortschIn 2009 an elk hunter in Wyoming shot and killed a charging brown bear while trying to haul out a downed elk. After a long investigation the hunter, Glen Fortsch, has been cleared of any wrong doing.

The has a story up about Glen and the nerve wracking wait to find out if he would be charged.

[Glen] shot the [brown bear] on Sept. 22, 2009, the day after grizzlies were added to the federal endangered species list. The status change could have been costly. Fortsch faced a fine of $25,000 and/or six months in prison instead of a lesser state penalty if his self-defense claim wasn't upheld.


jim boyd's picture

OK, I said I wanted to go out

OK, I said I wanted to go out west to hunt.... I worry very much about this bear thing... and probably about mountain lions, too.

Being part of the food chain (other than at the very top) has got me deeply bothered!

Let's see here... 600 bears were responsible for 15 attacks and 2 deaths... those statistics are not very comforting at all... in fact, they are downright worrying!

I am incredibly surprised at these statistics - these seem severely high to me. If you read about one or two attacks, they would not seem so significant - but 15 or so - and two deaths... that is a lot to me.

I guess - perhaps - you do not traipse around in the woods at night like we do out east going to and from deer stands - I would be scared to death in the dark woods if I knew carnivores that can and will attack were out there with me.

Every leaf rustle would have me headed back to the camp tent... and even then, I am not sure that is a lot of protection!

I wonder, too, if people that hunt in areas where bears are prevalent carry sidearms - although it would take a wicked pistol to stop a grizzly. Add to that the fact that a pistol like a .44 Magnum weighs a lot - and you are walking miles and miles per day - I can see the strain that the extra pounds would put on you.

Add to the mix that you might be arrested for shooting the darn thing and that seems sort of lopsided to me.

I guess being judged by twelve is better then being carried by six, though - as the old saying goes.

I will need to read up on this - I know there are some bear repellents out there also - if they work, I am taking some with me when I finally am fortunate enough to get out there.... and I hope I can get to it quickly enough to dissuade the beast!

Here is one thing I can promise you - I am not going to be toting any elk quarters out in the dark... I will have to do my hunting in the morning and if I am fortunate enought to harvest one, I am all about getting him out of there long before sundown!

The good news, I guess, is that you would be out west hunting - the bad news is that the hunter can become the hunted.

Hmmm, let me get back to you on that one!

Glen stand your ground !!!!

 Its not my place to say who is right and who is wrong cause only  All I want to comment on is I wished the nature police would tell both side of hunters vs animals argument.  I am a big fan of conservation and animal rights. As with most hunters I volunteer time and donate loads of money to animal conservation programs. I do believe that hunters created most conversation programs, donate more time and money than the nature drama queens like to take credit for. We actually do with action what they claim to do in words. Minus of course all their litigation and protests against somethings they rarely know anything about. I would actually keep the game animals over the nature queens if given a choice. Check your sources do your home work and stop believing everything you hear from the “sky is falling propaganda machine”. Global warming does not exist, aliens aren't taking over and it is ok to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school because this is America and that is what our foundation was built upon. It appears that both hunter and obviously bear were both within their realm of instinct and responsibility. Why did it take a year to figure that out? Who knows truthfully for sure. But I have my opinion on who I think is trying to push buttons behind the scenes. Glen stand your ground and do what you have to do.

bearlover's picture

Responding to the Ignorance Machine...

Before I begin commenting on what jonesklan71 wrote, I want to point out to every hunter on this site that he fired the first round and chose to hurl insults (calling non-hunters "nature queens"), rather than just stating his beliefs.

Having said that, I want to directly comment to jonesklan71.  Your insult is a common bullying technique which may work in the inbred town, which you are from, but it will not work with me.  I'm used to it.  It's the normal course of action.  Once a hunter is challenged, many times they resort to insults.  You are a bully and it for this very reason you feel the need to go out and kill animals.

Your second move is another typical one. You go into some lecture on all the time and money you spend on conservation.  Just because you donate towards nature does not give you the right to destroy it.

You said to do your homework.  What a joke.  I'm quite sure that your fellow hunters in Alaska will tell you that the permafrost has been melting for the past ten years.  Houses are sinking into the ground.  Glaciers are melting and collapsing into the ocean.  So much so, that it has affected the migration of polar bears.  To say that there is no global warming is comical.  Check YOUR sources!

As for aliens, I do not know whether they exist or not.  If they do, I can only hope that when they round up all of us humans to put on their game preserves before hunting us, they will see that it is the "nature queens" that are the more evolved and intelligent segment of our society.  Hopefully they will spare us.  However, if they chose not to spare us, I will die in euphoria watching you hunters run for your lives and scream like sissies.



My last 2cents

Thanks for your spirited opinion Bearlover.  I wish you no ill-will or hatred.  A good spirited debate draws attention to the issues at hand.  I know us inbred, uneducated southern folks still believe evryone is entitled to their 2cents.  If I am not correct I do recall it was you who sterotyped all of us hunters so I in turn jumbled you non hunters into a single category.  You did bring us some valid points though.  I will ask my non-hunting upper mid-west wife of a very long time about if I am a bully or not.  Especially such a bully that I have to get my bulling fix from killing harmless animals.   She will give me an honest answer.  I do admit I have shot a lot of wildlife but most of which at least probably 90% I shot with a camera.  One thing you are correct on is when the aliens do I come me and the wife and our 4 teens and 3 foster teens, will pack up the farm pull the American Flag out of the front yard store it away in the attic next to my 2 Bronze Stars and 3 Purple Hearts, secure all the animals in our rescue shelter and run away screaming as you non-hunters protect us.  Thanks for my security in advance.  It is kindly appreciated.  In all sincereity have a good day sir and to you and yours have a happy holiday.  I will shall return home to mine January.


I do apologize Mr Moderator I will stay on topic. This is my last 2 cents im spending on this topics.

bearlover's picture

Happy Holidays to you too...

Ha Ha.  Well said...

OK.  Thanks.  I appologize for being rude to you.  I do not mind debating or being challenged.  But I did feel that you went beyond that.  

I am not clear where I stereotyped you (hunters).  Maybe when I called you "hypocrites".  I was referring to the hunters whose replies I was reading on this particular web site, that felt that the grizzlies should be hunted in retaliation for attacking the guy in Wyoming.  For the record, I feel personally or legally that that hunter did nothing wrong.  I feel badly about the kill.  And I agree with CA_Vermonster's comment that he would not mind the 10 month investigation so as to completely clear his name without question.

Happy Holidays to you and your family as well.



Bearlover, you are on a

Bearlover, you are on a HUNTING web site. If you take offense to the conversations or content on this site, then don't participate. We don't wish to be saved or reformed. Nor do the members here have to prove anything to you, scientific of otherwise. And for the record, jonesklan71 was not directing comments at you personally, he made general statements.

We would appreciate it, if you would take your comments and arguments elsewhere.

bearlover's picture

I don't mind being here.

Actually, I do not take offense to the content or conversations.  I take offense to hunters (who consider themselves conservationists) and others giving misinformation about animals and/or nature.  I have enjoyed the many discussions that I have had with the hunters on this site.  Who knows maybe I'll learn something.  Everyone has been quite curteous, until now.

I have a right to be here and participate.  In fact, one of your members invited me to stay on. 

Yes. joneslan71 was making a general comment towards a group that included me.  So it's hard to not take it personally.  For instance, if I posted that all hunters are morons, I would expect you to get upset.

I mean really, are you going to defend a guy who calls himself a conservationist and claims that global warming is not real?!!  Are you insane?!!  Like I said, talk to any hunter in Alaska.  They'll tell you what I posted before.  Global warming is real and it's people like that who keep it in existance.  Worse, they pass that belief onto their children and we end up with another generation of misinformed people.  Really?  That's conservation?  That's someone who cares about the planet?

You may not wish to be saved or reformed.  I can respect that.  But you should at least wish to be educated.

bearlover's picture

Do all roads lead to hunting???

I notice that some of the comments immediately suggest that brown bears need to be hunted, just because one man's life was in jeopardy.  How can you make that statement?  If you guys are going to go out into the wild to hunt, then why would you be surprised that you run into wildlife when you're out there?  I don't get it.

Let me understand this.  You have a hunter out in the Wyoming wilderness, which is home to brown bears.  The hunter has a freshly killed Elk.  A brown bear shows up.  I can guess that the bear may have wanted the Elk.  So why would any hunter not understand this situation and state that the bears are overpopulated?

What are the statistics that support the need for a hunt?  What population statistics show that brown bears are "overpopulated" in Wyoming?

You guys are hypocrites.  Just like you say that no one should be punished for defending themselves, no species of animal should be punished for behaving like an animal, especially when we knowingly enter their domain.


Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

Do all roads lead to

Do all roads lead to hunting??? by bearlover - 12/02/2010 - 16:42

"I notice that some of the comments immediately suggest that brown bears need to be hunted, just because one man's life was in jeopardy. How can you make that statement? If you guys are going to go out into the wild to hunt, then why would you be surprised that you run into wildlife when you're out there? I don't get it.

"He did not just "run into wildlife" a bear came into his space to take his elk." Since you apparently don't know about grizzlies and food I'll give you griz 101. Bear sees food, bear wants food, bear sees man, bear says the hell with man I want elk. Bear says I'm going to get elk even if I have to kill man.

"Let me understand this. You have a hunter out in the Wyoming wilderness, which is home to brown bears. The hunter has a freshly killed Elk. A brown bear shows up. I can guess that the bear may have wanted the Elk. So why would any hunter not understand this situation and state that the bears are overpopulated? I hope some day you have the opportunity meet a griz while you have a moose or elk on your back then you will understand about over population. What are the statistics that support the need for a hunt? What population statistics show that brown bears are "overpopulated" in Wyoming?"

You have stats that show there shouldn’t be a hunt? I don’t know about the rest of the hunters who commented here but I don’t care about the stats. I live in an area that is over run with bears. Between the bears(both browns & blacks) and the wolves there is no longer a huntable moose population in this game unit. I can see the same thing happening in the northern Rockies. Food for people comes before any predator needs.

"You guys are hypocrites. Just like you say that no one should be punished for defending themselves, no species of animal should be punished for behaving like an animal, especially when we knowingly enter their domain."

You call us hypocrites yet two days after you wrote this post you were insulted because someone called you a “ nature queen”. Looks to me like you threw the first insult. As for entering their domain it isn’t solely theirs man is part of the ecosystem, whether you like or not. An animal is not punished for behaving like an animal. When a grizzly wants food you have he does not run, he destroys the opposition, that would be you.

As for my credentials I’m a guide the largest percent of my hunts are for both species of bears. I also live in an area that has one of the highest concentrations of bears in North America. I have probably watched more bears in my yard any given year than the average person sees in their life time. I am actively involved with the wildlife issues in Alaska both through the Board of Game and my local biologist.

Sorry mods I didn't cut & paste to get the extra points I just couldn't figure out any other way to reply and get my points across.

bearlover's picture

What's Up w/ Chuck???


You took the time several weeks ago to pick apart my post, almost line by line.  I found your comments somewhat odd in that I clearly agreed with a lot of what you said.  

I respect where you live & how you live.  I respect your credentials.  However, you never commented back.

I even asked if you had any photos of your area, as I would enjoy seeing what it's like where you live.

OK.  I just find it strange that you made a big effort to respond to me then disappear (???).  I'm still curious if you had any followup comments AND to see photos.

Take care,


"He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin... Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others." - from Acharanga Sutra (Jainism - Non-Vedic Religion of Old India)


jim boyd's picture

Bearlover, Your comments and


Your comments and opinions are yours and we acknowledge them.

If you want your state revenues to suffer, your wildlife areas to suffer and be reduced in size, your local businesses to suffer reduced revenues, your state to have to create animal eradication programs (a nicely worded euphemism for shooting the beasts), your car insurance rates to skyrocket, loss of human life from increased animal / vehicle collisions, animal populations to skyrocket (which will mean reduced animal weights, forest and browse to be over grazed, runaway animal diseases, more extensive crop depradation, etc), food prices to increase (please do not disparage farmers while your mouth is full, thank you) - just eliminate hunting altogether.

In short, your ideas actually NEGATIVELY impact wildlife... why do you think states continue to cultivate and promote hunting? Do you not agree that most lawmakers are interested in and support programs that benefit their respective states??

I have no doubt you THINK you are stating the correct way to do things... but like most folks with shortsightedness about the whole picture - you are misguided.

Are hunters perfect? Of course not... we have our demons (ignorance, poaching) that we battle daily - and we work toward eliminating these... and yes, we do consider ourserlves conservationists.

It is clear your presence here is not welcome - why would you continue to impose YOUR thoughts on this forum?

As always there are two sides to each issue and both have merits - either of us could argue til we were blue in the face and not make an impact on the other's opinions.

You insult and then aplogize as if an apology is an excuse for poor behavior in the first place - it is not. (this is true on our end also and we acknowledge that fact).

Go back to "your" websites and leave us to ours. These is hardly any middle ground and right now, you are standing on my toes.




bearlover's picture

??? there???

I just thought I'd follow up with you.

I never understood your initial comment/reply to what I wrote, as it seemed to echo what I already said.  I responded to you and thought I may get a response.  Nothing yet.

I don't get it.

Also, I find it interesting that you chose to pick apart my comments, piece by piece.  Yet, I'm curious, as a man living in Alaska, you made no comment on my argument that global warming IS occurring.  You must have first-hand knowledge.  One of your fellow "conservationist" hunters, claims that global warming is not occurring.  It'd be nice to comment/reply to him and let him know that he is wrong.

I don't feel you proved me wrong, if that was your intent.  However, it'd be nice if you could educate your fellow hunters.



Ca_Vermonster's picture

Just to throw my $.02 in on

Just to throw my $.02 in on this issue, I think that global warming is occurring, BUT, I do not believe that is anything to be alarmed at.  I believe it is a normal cycle of the earth.  We go through ice ages, and then thaws, ice ages, then thaws.  The worlds history has been this way.  Are we helping it along?   Sure, but we are naive to think that we are significant enough to start it or stop it all on our own?  Geothermal activity rises, sea temps rise, and so-on.  that's all mother nature. 

The only thing that we can do to have an immediate, profound effect, would be nuclear war.  That would #^$% our ecosystem to the point that it would take many millennia to correct itself. 

But, that's another thing.  The fact is, we are guests here, and if mother nature, or God, whichever you believe in, does not like what we are doing, they will "correct" the problem.  Human history, through research of ancestral DNA, has shown massive die-offs, and growth spurts, and die-offs, and growth spurts.  It's the pattern of the world.

Does this all mean that we should treat our earth with reckless abandon?  Absolutely not.  But, does it mean that we should listen to the likes of AL Gore and his chronies, who scream that the sky is falling, and that we should all revert to our covered wagons, beating our drums, and eating tofu?  I don't think so.  After all, one after the other, scientists are coming out and saying that much of the research is bogus.  That's not my words, it's the scientists who up until a few years ago shared your view.

As for the targeting of bears because they are overpopulated, I don't think that is it.  I think it's simply a matter of keeping that delicate balance between man and animal.  None of us are advocating an open season on bears, wolves, whatever.  As I have said to you in the other thread, we, as hunters and conservationists (Bugs you, doesn't it... Wink), have learned from our past mistakes with the elk, buffalo, etc., and know what is a sustainable harvest.  We know how to "manage" wildlife.  If we do not do it, even you cannot argue that human expansion will lead to more bear/human conflicts, with bad results.  I think it's better for humans and bears alike to have a controlled, scientifically based hunt.

I do my part.  I recycle, I try to reuse.  I use mulch made from my own clippings.  I do many, many other things to chip in.  Relax, life will go on......

bearlover's picture


Hey Chuck,

By the way, if possible, can you post some pictures of your area?  I'd love to see where you live.


Hope you are well.  Happy Holidays!



bearlover's picture

I have agreed wth you..

Hi Chuck-n-Alaska,

Thanks for all of your comments.  I live in Northeast Pennsylvania.  I, admittedly, do not know much about Wyoming or Alaska.  However, I am lucky enough to see black bears in my yard almost daily.

As far as me "throwing the first insult", maybe you are correct.  But my "insult" wasn't just a random open name calling.  I tried to support my name-calling by explaining why I said it.  Although a negative term, it was meant to enlighten those hunters that seemed to feel that the grizzlies should be hunted in retaliation for attacking the hunter (which is hypocritical, by the way).  Calling me a "nature queen" (indirectly) was done for no other reason other than to be rude.  It was not "supported".  So, sorry.  You are quite wrong on that note.

As far as your Grizzly 101, I think that I said exactly what you said:  the grizzly wanted the elk.  And yes, I can understand the grizzly willing to "fight" (attack and kill) the hunter over the food.  That was my point.  What I don't understand is why another hunter would not seem to understand that.  We both know that bears have an amazing sense of smell.  They probably smell the kill the moment the blood spills.  Your 101 course still does nothing to support the "fact" that there is an overpopulation problem.  In fact, wasn't the whole issue of this grizzly killing, the fact that the hunter killed a protected animal?  If I am wrong, let me know.  But if I am right, then you are wrong and the fact that the grizzly is protected proves that there is not an overpopulation problem.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

As for entering the grizzlies domain, you know what I mean.  Man, in general, does not live out in the wild.  It seems that you do, but you are not the majority.  When hunters go hunting, the leave their homes and flat screen TVs to go out into the woods.  The woods are the animals domain.  You know that and I will not let you twist the word.  Man is part of the ecosystem, but that has nothing to do with going into the wild.

Also, I do not understand your last two bolded sentences:  "an animal is not punished for behaving like an animal.  When a grizzly wants food you have he does not run, he destroys the opposition, that would be you".   This makes no sense to me.  You put two completely different ideas together.  I clearly explained that a hunter who wants to punish the grizzly for attacking a hunter with a fresh kill is punishing the animal for being an animal.  They want to hunt them in retaliation.  Why don't you understand that.  Not one hunter supported the idea of "overpopulation" with facts.  Secondly, I agree that a grizzly will destroy anything or anyone in it's way.  From what I'm reading, it's your fellow hunters who do not seem to understand that.  If you want to go out into the wild, then don't be surprised when the wildness shows up.  

If I'm out in the woods of Alaska and a grizzly shows up and kills me.  So be it.  I have no problem with that.  I get it.  I would not blame the bear or expect someone to go out and kill that bear for retribution.  As a case in point, I think the bear that killed Timothy Treadwell (maybe spelled wrong) should not have been killed.  It did nothing wrong. Timothy was in that bear's domain and should therefore accept any consequences that come with that decision.

Your credentials are impressive. I can respect that. But I think I have mostly agreed with what you wrote, so I'm not sure what your issue is with me.


cscott711's picture

I can't imagine what the poor

I can't imagine what the poor guy had to go through since last year.  It is ridiculous to put someone through that kind of stress over a situation like that.  The guy not only has to fear for his life when the incident happens, but then has to fear for his freedom for a year after that.  I'm glad it's all over with for him.

hawkeye270's picture

The gizzly bear is a species

The gizzly bear is a species that requires a fairly large area to survive. Wyoming is about the best state in the lower 48 for this species to call home. But that doesn't mean that the population can inflate to its natural carrying capacity... or that we should allow it to actually climb above that point before leveling back off. It is possible that the carrying capacity, given human constraints, has been met already. I agree that it is about time for this species to start getting hunted once again. It is obviously going to be a very limited hunt but it is amazing what just a little hunting pressure will due to put that natural fear of humans back in a wild animal population.

I agree, the sad thing about this case is the fact that it took so darn long for them to clear his name. I can not imagine that stress that he must have been going through. The good thing is that the right decision was made in his case. No one should ever be punished for defending themselves and the law protects that. But why did it take so long if the facts were that clear cut. I understand that it is a high profile animal and that they need to take fatalities within its species but it sounds like they went a little overboard in that investigation.

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

A possible six months in jail

A possible six months in jail and a fine of $25000.00 for defending your life? That is insane, what a choice get killed by a griz or have your life ruined by a bunch of out of control pencil pushers. It is a prefect example of how a law that could do good has  been totally twisted and gone beyond its original intent. There is no reason anyone should have to be put through hell because he was defending his life or property. The ESA has become one of the most misused and abused laws this country has had the misfortune to enact it is nothing but a tool for the anti-hunting crowd and needs tossed.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

I too beleive it took them

I too beleive it took them along time to clear his name.  You would think just the simple fact that he reported it would be the first inducator that he was not lying.  he very well could have just walked away from it.  One thing is for sure I would do the same thing in his shoes.  Glad it all worked out for him. 

ecubackpacker's picture

Several remarks need to be

Several remarks need to be made about this case. The federal and state investigators should have never taken 10 months to clear this gentleman if the facts were clear and obvious as they stated. They had to investigate as soon as it was reported to get statements from witnesses and view the scene of the incident. The tragedy of this situation is this man worried himself for 10 months because they did not clear him immediately of wrong doing.
In the article, there was a comment made about the law was written to protect the bears from poaching. Now, the man called to report the incident to the authorities. He isn't poaching; he's protecting himself from attack and possibly death. I hate that someone would have tobendure that anxiety for 10 months before being cleared. I am grateful he was cleared.
It's one more reason why the bears need to be hunted. Their population needs to be thinned for the bears and our sake. They are over-populated resulting in attacks up 3 fold this year. Thin the bears put out to help protect them.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

You see, I don't think I

You see, I don't think I would have any problem with them waiting 10 months, as long as I was kept updated on the process.  I would feel, when it finally was settled, that there would be no stone left unturned, and nobody could question the validity of the "verdict".  By taking their time, tying up all the loose ends, they do not leave any room for doubt that this guy acted properly.  The comments directed at him should lessen substantially now.

Glad to see it turn out this way!