Wildlife Officials Search For Grizzly That Killed West Glacier Man
Montana wildlife officials have a difficult decision to make when and if they capture a grizzly bear that killed 38-year-old Brad Treat Wednesday near Glacier National Park. Do they euthanize the animal or relocate it?
"In cases where there’s predatory activity, where a bear actually is acting as a predator and then consumes following the predation, those bears are taken out of the population," says Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. "We don’t know that that was the case here. It doesn’t appear that this was a predatory thing, it was just a surprise encounter. We’re going to get a lot of public reaction. We always do. People have lots of passion and lots of opinions."
It won't be easy to find the bear that killed Treat. Wildlife experts have fanned out across the Halfmoon Lakes area of the Flathead National Forest in search of the grizzly. Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim says there are lots of bears in the area.
"It’s a really tough deal. The thing that would potentially be the most successful would be if the bear remains in the area and enters one of the traps. We do have DNA from the bear. If it’s good enough DNA then we would be able to match that to any bear that we happen to catch."
Aasheim says officials believe Treat and a companion surprised the bear while mountain biking. It knocked Treat off his bike and attacked him. The second rider was able to escape to summon help.
Treat was a law enforcement officer based out of the Flathead National Forest. Forest officials released a statement Thursday describing Treat as a dedicated officer and public servant.