On Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 10:24 am, the Gallatin County Coroner’s / Sheriff’s Office, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wardens responded to a Grizzly bear mauling on Nixon Peak Road, North and East of Bridger Bowl. The victim of the mauling has been identified as 24 year old Benjamin Cloutier of Bozeman, MT, formerly from Yorkhaven, Pennsylvania.
The Sheriff’s Office conducted the initial investigation and is continuing to follow up on this case.
Sheriff’s Deputies arrived first, and then Warden Jen Williams responded to the incident at Animals of Montana followed by Warden Sergeant Joe Knarr.
The Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency in the case, as the bears involved are captive-bred bears.
These animals are not grizzly bears taken from the wild in Montana. They are Syrian brown bears that were purchased from a vendor out of state.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks licenses the facility. In order to be licensed to operate a facility of this type, owners must meet a number of regulations outlined by Montana statute.
All the necessary paperwork related to this facility is current.
Our investigation is ongoing, but the Sheriff and the Montana Department of Fish and Game will be available for questions at 2:00 PM at the Gallatin County Detention Center.