Montana FWP – Don’t Try to Scare a Bear Away with a Shotgun
The impetus for this story comes from a report of an injured bear that had to be euthanized near Kila, Montana.
Information and Program Manager for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Dillon Tabish explains what led to the bear being euthanized.
“There are a lot of bears in the area, especially now as winter is approaching and they might show up on someone’s property,” said Tabish. “It’s an old misconception that one way to shoo a bear off your property is to get out your bird shot and your shotgun and give the bear a couple of shots from far away and give it a painful reason to get off your property, but that’s actually not an effective solution, but it can also lead to a lethal outcome, like the one that occurred this summer.”
Tabish said his office was notified about an injured bear in the Kila area.
“The injured black bear was dragging its lower body near some houses,” he said. “Our bear management folks responded and discovered that this bear had been shot in the back with a shotgun and it was partially paralyzed, so we had to euthanize that bear. We’re just trying to notify people about the most effective ways to keep bears off your property.”
Tabish said shooting at an animal is not recommended as a deterrent.
“We just don’t think shooting at an animal is effective, in fact and it leads to these lethal outcomes,” he said. “The animal can be injured and become even more dependent on human food sources, because it is unable to forage and hunt naturally.”
Tabish said the best deterrent is no food to attract the wild animals.
“If you can make food inaccessible by storing it a secure, hard-sided building, getting it inside a vehicle or inside a secure bear-resistant container, that’s going to avoid the situation altogether,” he said. “It is very important to always remain at a safe distance - at least 100 feet – from a bear. Often yelling and shouting accompanied by turning on lights are enough to deter a bear and convince them to leave the area. FWP recommends people carry bear spray in the outdoors and know how to use it.”