Connectivity, livestock hang in the balance as grizzlies show up in ranching town

Editor’s note:

This story is part of the Lee Enterprises series “Grizzlies and Us.” The project examines the many issues surrounding the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans in the Lower 48, which have come  into focus in recent years as the federallyprotected animal pushes farther into human-occupied areas. The 10-part series, comprised of more than 20 stories, was produced by outdoor reporters and photojournalists across the Rocky Mountain West.

 

Bill McIntosh gathered his family around the kitchen table at the ranch house and told the grizzly tale, unable to hold back tears.

“If you see how these bears kill those things — they were in agony,” he said. “The last steer we found, his neck was broke. His nose was crushed into splinters.”

Late this spring, Bill and his son, Gib McIntosh, trotted up a creek one evening and saw a grizzly. Momentarily, the bear circled around through the timber and back towards its kill — one of their yearling steers.

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The grizzly huffed as it moved downhill, closing in on the two men.

“Too close,” Gib said, right before he and his father got out of there.    

The bear was suspected of killing

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