People killed 20 grizzly bears in western, north-central Montana in 2009

Number was about average-

People killed 20 grizzly bears in western, north-central Montana in 2009. AP

15 Responses to “People killed 20 grizzly bears in western, north-central Montana in 2009”

  1. Peter Kiermeir Says:

    The report says that in one of the cases still under investigation the claws and the “sexual organs” of the bear where missing. I know that the sexual organs of tigers and rhino sadly have some use in the traditional Chinese medicine but never heard of bears. Does somebody know what the sexual organs of a grizz are good for and in which culture – if there is a medicinal background at all?

  2. Richie, Giallanzo,NJ Says:

    So most of the bears are killed by trains and cars ?

  3. Richie, Giallanzo,NJ Says:

    Is 2009 an up swing for grizzly bear deaths ?

  4. william huard Says:

    Peter- I’ve never heard of sexual organs being utilized for TCM, the gall bladder is the most utilized organ infortunately. Many of the bears die from peritonitis or liver cancer as a result of the bile drip process. I’m still waiting for China to show that they care even a little for Rhinos, sharks, tigers and other animals that they thoughlessly exploit for their “cure”. 16 of the 20 bears killed were killed in self-defense. Hmmm- how convenient!

  5. Peter Kiermeir Says:

    I think what they say is, that a total of 20 individuals fell victim to human activities and 16 thereof killed in either self-defense cases, misidentification cases, management activities and train or car collisions (what happened to the remaining 4?). So not all of these 16 seem to be victims of these self-defense cases (it´s worse enough anyway). Does anybody have more precise statistics ?

  6. bob jackson Says:

    Why isn’t it reported that 20 bears WERE KNOWN to be killed? There are so many bears killed illegally each year it makes the CONFIRMED bear mortality figures almost mute to management decisions….or should be…except that the guys who should be protecting them….the bear managers…. want them delisted.

    There is little incentive for law enforcement to check up on initial reports of bear killings. Thus the “20 deaths” is better viewed as political propaganda.

  7. Wilderness Muse Says:


    You raise a good question. Historically, black bear have been sought by some Asian cultures (primarily Chinese), I think. Bear gall bladder, bile and pancreas apparently have high value on the black market. Several years ago, the Wall St. Journal, of all places, had an excellent article on black market trade of US species, and the efforts of undercover USFWS agents and other state and federal officers in stopping the illegal trafficking of these items. We should not be surprised if there is a very lucrative market for grizzly bear parts. In some parts of Asia bear populations have been dramatically reduced because of these stupid superstitious alleged curative powers of animal parts.

    Here is a fairly recent National Geographic article on the trafficking of bear body parts, and efforts to stop it.

  8. Talks with Bears Says:

    Bob – enlighten us with your knowledge of the “so many bears killed each year illegally” – give us your number for 2009 and I will pass it on to the powers that be. Maybe they will work your annual “guess” into their bear plan? Do you still make it out here to study up on bears? Or are you one of those long distance experts?

  9. bob jackson Says:


    Oh lets see, How about we start with the generally acknowledged inhouse poaching numbers for bears being 2-1 over reported cases. Then we can go with the experiences I had in the boundary areas of Yellowstone…. where the word would go around the valley of a mother of three cubs shot in the chest with a shotgun by so-so outfitter right behind camp. Then lo and behold several days later three little furry griz cubs show up walking down the trail next to my cabin.

    I report it and am told by USF&W that unless there is actual visual proof of this animal being shot there is no way the judge will even let this case go to court.

    Ta Da !! Incident not even recorded (except in my station log book). It becomes just another word of mouth rumor.

  10. Richie, Giallanzo,NJ Says:

    Don’t you believe more bears are killed than reported?

  11. timz Says:

    twb believes Native Americans gave wolves mange, so no telling what else he believes.

  12. mikepost Says:

    Bear paws are used for medicinal soup by some cultures. Claws, of coarse, are highly prized for jewelry and if you can find a native american artisan to front for you, they can be sold once incorporated into native “art”. Next time you go to a southwest jewelry show, you prob. will find claws incorporated into necklaces and belt buckles.

  13. Larry Thorngren Says:

    I was photographing black bears on Vancouver Island about 4 years ago. A B.C. game warden gave me his card and asked me to be on the watch for Orientals shooting bears for their gall bladders. He indicated that it was a major problem throughout British Columbia, especially where the bears congregate on salmon streams.
    I found one carcass, but it was so decomposed that I couldn’t tell how it was killed or if the gall bladder had been removed. I agree with Bob Jackson that the actual killing of bears is much higher than the known count.

  14. Cutthroat Says:

    The numbers discussion tends to distract from the more important topic of increased habitat and restoration in other recovery areas, i.e. Bitterroot, Cascades.

    Once again, in many cases as bears are pushed out of the most desirable feeding areas due to possible carrying capacity being reached in Glacier ecosystem and come in contact with humans, the result is more bear fatalities. Similarly if conservation biologists are right and the decline (near extinction) of the whitebark pine pushes bears down from high elevations and into more confrontations with humans in Yellowstone, more bear fatalities will result in the years to come.

    Seems this only serves to demonstrate the importance of moving forward with establishing populations in other suitable habitats. At the same time, if bears are translocated to central Idaho what is to say that their fate will not be the same as these Montana bears based on the current social climate as demonstrated by the anti-wolf sentiment. So far the two griz that appear to have made it on their own and have been recorded in Bitterroot recovery zone in 2009 were mistaken for black bears and shot. Still, one would think if an augmentation were significant enough, there is sufficient remote habitat/roadless area there for bears to hide out in and take hold.

    Having all our grizzly “eggs” in just a couple baskets seems a precarious strategy. But then I guess we won’t see the strategy until 2012.

  15. ProWolf in WY Says:

    Cutthroat, I think grizzlies should be restored to other areas like the Cascades, Bitterroots, and San Juans. Those would be great homes for “surplus” bears. I think it would be neat if they could go back to California but not sure what kind of habitat exists there.

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