Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says a black bear hunter shot and killed a grizzly bear in the Swan Valley after misidentifying it in May. The male bear weighed 500 pounds and was about 18 years old.
The agency says a man from Pennsylvania told game wardens he mistakenly shot the bear on May 20 in the Piper Creek drainage during black bear hunting season. He had a black bear license.
Grizzly bears cannot be legally hunted in Montana.
Black bear hunters are required to pass an identification test before purchasing a license. FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish says bear identification is also a part of hunter education courses.
“It’s something we take very seriously as an agency, and it’s very important for hunters to know, when they’re afield, the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear," Tabish says.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently investigating the incident.