Montana Man Accidentally Killed Grizzly

While Hunting For Black Bear

Montana News, Bear Hunting Magazine

A Billings man accidentally shot and killed a 300-pound grizzly bear while hunting for black bear in the Gallatin National Forest.

Wildlife officials say the man mistook the male grizzly for a black bear. He shot the grizzly from about 100 yards in an open area dotted with sagebrush while hunting for black bear in the Gallatin National Forest. After shooting the bear, another grizzly appeared from the same area and scared him off. He reported the incident to the state Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

"He did the right thing in turning himself in," game warden Capt. Sam Sheppard of the FWP, said. "It hit him pretty hard. He is hugely remorseful."

Curtis Settergren is charged with possessing or taking a grizzly bear unlawfully. He faces a $735 fine and $2,000 restitution for the grizzly bear. His hunting and trapping privileges may be suspended for three years.

"There was a level of negligence, but he did not go out looking to illegally shoot a grizzly," Sheppard said. "Taylor Fork is grizzly bear central. There are black bear, but there is a high likelihood that tracks and sign will be from grizzly. This one looked very much like a grizzly. He needed to take more time before he pulled the trigger. Everyone needs to take more time in this situation."

FWP game wardens went to the scene to investigate. The hunter had given a detailed account of the incident, including directions to the location of the shooting, where brass casings were recovered.

The head and paws of the grizzly were removed and will be used by FWP for educational purposes. The carcass was left at the site for scavengers. A necropsy to determine the cause of death was performed Wednesday. FWP stated the bear was a sub-adult male. This grizzly is the first accidentally killed by a hunter who misidentified the bear since grizzlies were removed from the endangered species list last year. Two other bears have been killed by hunters in self defense since the delisting, both in the Gardiner area. The delisting is currently being challenged in the courts.

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