Tom Miner Basin, Montana

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle of October 8, 2007

Bear in mauling found dead

Game wardens confirmed Sunday that a female grizzly bear shot by a Pennsylvania elk hunter in Tom Miner Basin on Saturday has died of its wounds.

Kevin Frey, a bear management specialist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the bear weighed about 300 pounds and was probably between 8 and 10 years old.

It attacked a pair of bow hunters early Saturday afternoon. One of them used bear pepper spray and halted a charge within nine feet, but the grizzly turned and charged a second time. That’s when the second hunter shot it twice with a .44 magnum pistol.

“It hit her and turned her,” FWP Warden Captain Sam Sheppard said of the spray. “Then she whirled and came back over a log at them.”

Without the spray, the bear likely would have mauled one of the men before they had a chance to pull the pistol, Sheppard said.

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The first pistol shot entered the bear’s body just under the chin, traveled through the sternum and clipped the aorta, Sheppard said. The second hit the bear in the chest. Both likely would have been fatal.

Investigators on Sunday looked over the scene, which had received about 20 inches of snow, and performed a field necropsy.

“It happened just like they said it did,” Sheppard said. “It’s self defense. The matter is closed.”

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