Rancher Fined for Shooting Preying Grizzly


According to an article from Montana’s News Station, the Fairfield rancher that shot and killed a grizzly bear preying on his livestock in May has now been fined $2,000.  His technical crime was a “violation of the Endangered Species Act.”

Our original story and discussion with the rancher is below:


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blood looks awfully red when it’s on top of white wool.  That was the vision Rick Christy saw when he looked outside on Tuesday morning.   He also saw grizzly bears. 

Northern Ag Network spoke with Rick, a rancher from outside of Fairfield, Montana, about his decision to grab a gun and pull the trigger.

All-in-all, Rick tells us that the bears killed 5 ewes and a lamb before he shot and killed one of the bears and scared another away.  Two more sheep had to be sewn back together.  While they’ll probably survive, they won’t be commercially valuable.

As the grizzly bear population has increased, Rick says that they are coming farther and farther off the mountains.  Livestock, he says, are only part of the worry.

Rick says that at one point the bear was only 10 yards away from him.  Roughly 2/3 of the total population of grizzly bears in the lower 48, or around 1,000 bears, live in Montana.

The Greater Yellowstone Area Grizzly Population is listed as a “threatened” species under the endangered species act.  This means that if a bear is seen in the act of attacking livestock, it can be taken by the rancher.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp



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