Lincoln makes case for griz hide
LINCOLN, Mont. — The hide of an 830-pound grizzly bear that was struck and killed by a pickup truck will be displayed at the Lincoln Ranger District office in the Helena National Forest, federal and state officials said last week.
Lincoln residents and some within the University of Montana athletics department were in a tug-of-war over the 12-year-old exceptionally large bear, which was killed in mid-October near Lincoln.
Several groups in Lincoln, including elementary school children who wrote letters to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, were interested in the hide.
Others said the hide of one of the largest grizzly bears known to roam northwestern Montana should be displayed at the University of Montana in Missoula, home of the Grizzlies.
But wildlife officials said they based their decision on the support and interest of locals, as well as the opportunity to use the bear to promote conservation.
Jim O’Day, UM’s director of athletics, said that even though the bear wasn’t headed to Missoula, he was pleased with the decision.
“The main objective was the bear would remain in Western Montana, and this will be great for the state and the citizens who will have the opportunity to view it,” he said.
The bear, by law, has to be used only for educational purposes and must carry a message of conservation because grizzlies are protected. The grizzly could legally have been placed in a school, government building or not-for-profit facility, but not in a store.