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Griz caught in coyote trap baited with a dead fox

Editor | December 22, 2021 7:55 AM

Hungry Horse News

Bear managers across the state relayed plenty of grizzly bear stories during the Northern Continental Divide Grizzly Bear Ecosystem Subcommittee meeting earlier this month.

Region 2 bear specialist Jamie Jonkel spoke briefly about the fatality this summer of a bicyclist who was camping in Ovando and was killed by a grizzly bear that came into town.

Leah Davis Lokan, 65, of Chico, California, was killed when a bear attacked her in her tent.

The bear had awakened the woman and two others who were camping near the post office about 3 a.m. July 5, officials said. The bear then ran away.

The campers removed food from their tents, secured it and went back to sleep.

The approximately 400-pound (181 kilogram) bear was seen by a video camera at a business about a block away from the post office about 15 minutes later, wildlife officials said.

About 4:15 a.m., the sheriff’s office received a 911 call after two people in a tent near the victim’s were awakened by sounds of the attack. They discharged their bear spray, and the bear ran away, the Associated Press reported at the time.

The bear is was also believed to have entered a chicken coop in town that night, killing and eating several chickens.

Jonkel noted a full report on the incident will come out early next year and will be posted on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee’s website.

Jonkel said another bear was coming into a campground in Seeley Lake, where people had been keeping food in their tents.

Earlier this fall, a grizzly was caught in a coyote trap. The trapper had put out a dead fox for bait and had set two traps.

They were able to dart and release one bear, but it was assumed that one of the traps may still be on another bear’s foot, as it was a family group of bears that got into the area.

On the east side of the mountains, bear managers were eyeing the use of guard dogs to keep bears out of grain and from livestock. They hope to start a pilot program next year on the effectiveness of dogs.