Elk hunter describes moments leading up to killing a grizzly bear

Posted at 2:31 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-07 17:11:39-05

GREAT FALLS – On November 14, Cody Klotz was hunting near Gibson Reservoir in a spot known as Gobbler’s Knob.

Klotz described his day as a typical morning, one where he woke up early to go elk hunting. “I went up for a normal, everyday hunt. I saw a few elk here and there,” Klotz said.

After waiting around for quite some time, he decided to call it a day. Klotz made his way back to camp. He said he was getting close to the main trail when he started hearing noises in the trees.

“It sounded like an elk was running through the timber. I walked down in there and that’s when it got ugly pretty fast,” Klotz said.

He said a male grizzly bear approached him and began circling. “The first thing that went through my mind is, ‘Oh this has got to be a bear, I’m in a really bad spot,’” Klotz said.

He described the bear as being in its teens and weighing close to 700 pounds. “It was 15 feet away and it had its head back. You could see spit coming out of his mouth and you could hear it snapping its teeth,” Klotz said.

That’s when he feared for his life and made the decision to shoot and kill the bear.

“I think if those logs weren’t there he would have come right up to me,” Klotz said.

Klotz is speaking out because he wants hunters to know this could happen to them: “During hunting season it seems like every week I was seeing something in the paper, news articles, about someone getting mauled and attacked.”
Photo Credit: Cody Klotz

When Klotz made it back to camp, he contacted Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. They arrived later that day and conducted an investigation.

“I’ve been hunting my whole life up there and never ran into one and all of a sudden this just happens. The whole thing happened in about 15-30 seconds,” Klotz said.

MTN has contacted the US Fish & Wildlife Service to see where their investigation stands; we will update you when we hear back.

Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News