Yellowstone Grizzly Death Count Hits 24, Including 20-Year-Old Shot Last Week

A 20-year-old grizzly killed in Montana last week for preying on cattle is the 24th grizzly to die so far this year in the Greater Yellowstone area. Six have been killed in Wyoming for livestock depredation.

Mark Heinz

August 17, 20232 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

So far in 2023, 24 grizzly bears have died or been found dead in the Greater Yellowstone area, including a bear that drowned in a Wyoming irrigation canal.

The latest grizzly fatality was a 20-year-old male killed by Montana wildlife agents Friday because it was preying on livestock.

That brings the number of grizzlies killed for livestock depredation to eight so far this year, including six killed in Wyoming, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Grizzly Drowns In Park County Canal

The USGS leads the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, which includes Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel, that monitors grizzlies throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Other grizzlies were struck by vehicles, killed for becoming conditioned to food sources and bold toward humans, or starved to death.

And an adult male grizzly drowned July 6 in the cement-sided Heart Mountain Canal in Park County, according to USGS. The agency’s data didn’t include any more details about the drowning.

The 2023 grizzly mortality count includes a bear that probably died earlier. Grizzly bones, including a skull, were discovered earlier this year on a Bureau of Land Management parcel in the Wyoming’s Grass Creek area. The bones are thought to have come from an adult male bear that died sometime in 2019 or 2020.

Griz Put Down For Killing Cattle, Property Damage

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agents killed the grizzly Aug. 11 because it had killed a cow on private land in the Tom Miner Basin just north of Yellowstone National Park, according to reports.  

Prior to that, wildlife agents killed an adult male bear in the Wood River area because “property damage and food conditioning,” according to USGS.

Two other adult males were killed recently for cattle depredation in the Wyoming’s Crow Creek area, though no exact dates were provided for those incidents.

Vehicle Strikes, Starving Cubs

Two grizzlies were struck and killed by vehicles on highways in the North Fork and South Fork in Park County, and one was hit and killed in Montana.

And during the “winter-spring” period this year, two male grizzly cubs in Montana starved and froze to death, according to USGS.

Five 2023 grizzly deaths – four in Wyoming and one in Montana – remain “under investigation,” with the suspected causes of death not listed by USGS.

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter