There’s a great deal to be feared from a grizzly when you’re in elk country. You’re sneaking along through close cover, trying to surprise an elk, all while running the risk of surprising a bear instead. If you do kill an elk, then you’re elbow-deep in elk blood in the land of the griz. But when you’re already home and the elk is hanging safely—”safely”—in your garage, you don’t expect any trouble from Old Ephraim.
Not so, at least in the case of a hunter near West Yellowstone, Montana. The incident occurred Sunday evening following a successful elk hunt, with the resulting carcass hanging in the man’s garage. A 15-year-old sow grizzly approached the house, breaking through a metal door and gaining access to the meat.
The commotion got the hunter’s attention. He came to the front door with a gun and found the grizzly only ten steps away, standing on the front porch. It turned and began to approach him, at which point he shot it.
A spokeswoman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the shooting had been investigated and deemed self-defense. The bear’s bloody paw prints had been found all around the house, on the front porch where the hunter met it, and even pressed against some of the house’s glass windows. While the grizzly had previously been trapped by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, it had never had an encounter with humans until this one.