Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


On 11-25-12, at approximately 7:33 PM, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue responded to a report of a missing hunter the Table Mountain area off Rocky Mountain Road and Blacktail Road. 

 A 71 year old male phoned 911 and reported that he was hunting with his 62 year old wife when they split up to track an elk and lost contact with each other.  After following the elk tracks and getting further apart, the wife walked several miles back to the Morgan Ranch and sat and waited for her husband to return. 

 The husband returned to the truck and waited for his wife before calling to report she was missing.  Search and Rescue arrived at the residence and located the wife at the ranch.  The husband continued to look for his wife after reporting her missing prompting Search and Rescue to go find the husband.  The husband was located and reunited with his wife.

 The Sheriff would like to remind the public to be prepared for emergencies by carrying two way radios.  The Fish and Game regulations allow for two way radios to be used to locate lost parties and emergency situations and calling for help when an animal is down.  Two-way electronic communication (radios, cell phones, text messages, etc.) may not be used to:

 • hunt game animals or upland game birds, migratory birds or furbearers OR

 • avoiding game checking stations.

Deputies Rescue Stranded Hunters

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, at approximately 3:30 pm, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies with Search and Rescue responded to two hunters who had disabled their vehicle near Little Bear Trail.  The hunters were driving on US Forest Service roads when their vehicle slid off the road.  When the hunters were unable to recover their vehicle they used their cell phone to contact 911 dispatchers.  The hunters had a good description of their location and dispatchers were able to confirm the location through GPS coordinates supplied by the cell phone.  Sheriff’s Deputies and search and rescue personnel started working immediately to reach the hunters because of a winter weather system in the area in conjunction with approaching darkness.  Deputies arrived in the area and found the hunters on the road near their vehicle.  It took deputies approximately two hours driving on muddy and snowy roads to reach the hunters location.  The hunter’s vehicle had to be left at the scene to be recovered later.  

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind backcountry users to bring clothing and emergency supplies appropriate for changing weather conditions.  It is also important to note that the hunters were found quickly because they knew their location and were able to relay that information to dispatchers because they had their cell phones with them.

Gallatin County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office


  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.

Man Killed by Captive Grizzly Bear North of Bozeman

 (Bozeman, Mont.)

  On Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 10:24 am,  Sheriff’s Deputies, Sheriff Coroner, Fish and Game Wardens and Bridger Canyon Fire Dept responded to a Grizzly bear mauling on Nixon Peak Road, North and East of Bridger Bowl.  A 24- year-old male originally from Pensylvania was mauled and killed by one or both captive bred grizzly bears at the Animals of Montana Facility. The male was reportedly cleaning the bear’s enclosure when the mauling occurred.  The name of the victim will not be released until next of kin can be notified.  The death is being investigated by the Sheriff Coroner and Game Wardens. #####

Sheriff Offers Some Clarification on Marijuana Ballot Measure

I have received questions from community members who are confused about Ballot Measure- Initiative Referendum Number 124.

I believe the wording of this Ballot Measure is confusing. 

The original law created an incredible burden on the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.  The 2011 legislature recognized and acknowledged these impacts and amended the law in Senate Bill 423.  This has had a very positive effect on this Office.

If you vote FOR Senate Bill 423, it leaves the law the way it currently is today.

If you vote AGAINST Senate Bill 423, it returns the law to its original form.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

The actual ballot language as it appears:

[ ]  FOR Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program.

[ ] AGAINST Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program. A vote against Senate Bill 243 will restore 1-148.

Brian M. Gootkin, Sheriff