Growling Grizzly Bear
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By the Associated Press

A Montana man told authorities that he cut off a grizzly bear’s claws as a memento after shooting it in self-defense because he was mad that the bear was going to eat him, according to court records.

Bryan Berg, 35, appeared in court on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Missoula after pleading guilty to illegal transport of grizzly bear claws, a misdemeanor, according to the Flathead Beacon. A judge sentenced the man from the northwestern Montana town of Marion to three years of probation and ordered him to pay $5,000 in restitution.

Grizzly bears in northwestern Montana are classified as a threatened species.

Prosecutors said Berg shot the bear in self-defense in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in 2017. He cut off its claws and pushed the carcass over the side of the mountain.

Berg never reported the shooting to law enforcement and he later took the bear claws to Washington state, prosecutors said.

Acting on a tip, authorities interviewed Berg in March 2018. He admitted he shot the bear in self-defense, handed over the claws and provided investigators with photos and videos of the scene, according to records.

“I was so (expletive) mad at it because he was going to eat me, I know he was,” Berg told investigators, according to the records. “So I basically said, ‘Hey, (expletive) you,’ and I cut his claws off. I did. I wanted to keep them as a memento.”

He added that he didn’t report the incident because he was “terrified” and said he knew taking the claws was illegal. “I was hoping I would never run into you two,” he told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents investigating the case.

Berg was also charged initially with failure to report the shooting of a grizzly bear within five days. That charge was dropped as part of a plea deal with prosecutors Berg signed in December.

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  1. While lesser agencies are tracking down bank robbers and serial bombers, the men and women of the Fish & Wildlife Service are always on the job, protecting the world from illegal bear claws. They are truly my heroes.

    • Should sue the Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing the bears to endanger peoples lives. Since they are in charge then they should shoulder responsibility.

      • Yep, if the animals belong to the king and they are indeed the king’s animals, and anyone that kills the kings animals without the king’s blessing has to pay restitution, then the king needs to get off his ass and fence in his animals and pay out compensation when they damage life and property.

        **** the king. – The Hound.

      • Pure & Simple the shooter of the Bear was wrong. First by not reporting it, & secondly taking it’s claws. I personally have found Fish & Game have always placed Human Safety BELOW Animal Protection. The $5000 fine was ridiculous. Maybe losing his hunting Rights for a Year would have been adequate.

    • Proof that they have too many agents. I thought they were busy saving the spotted minnow owl fish.
      If you kill someone in Chicago you’re not charged $5,000. You get no-bail and back on the street before the cop finishes his paperwork.
      Location, location, location.

        • Note to self : Laughing while burping causes weird things to happen to what’s in your stomach.

          Dag-nabbit, JWM!

        • I would have argued in court that the bear wasn’t actually a bear but was in fact a non-binary TransBear who identified as a very large raccoon.

          It wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing heard in a Federal court lately.

  2. How does one legally transport the claws? Should they be locked up in a safe so they don’t jump out and hurt anyone?

  3. Dear Abby:

    I had a bear claw for breakfast, with a cup of hot coffee. Should I be afraid of the Fish & Wildlife Service?


    Hiding in Massachusetts

    • Don’t worry so much about the DNR as the diabetes. Too many bear claws and the next thing you know….

  4. if a bear attacks me and I take its lifei I don’t see why I don’t get to keep it, nose to tail. I myself was charged with possession of protected species body parts thankfully my religious beliefs saved me on that one.

    • You can get in trouble here in Pa if you take a deer you hit with your vehicle. I know Im hopping out and taking that sucker home lol a little deer meat is atleast a nice consolation for a fd front end.

    • Think about it. Really think about it. If you were allowed to keep anything you shot in self-defense, what’s to stop poachers from just saying they shot in self-defense in order to take whatever animal they wanted in any season, tag be damned? Well you see, I HAD to shoot that bighorn, because it was charging me. I HAD to shoot that moose, because it was charging me. I HAD to shoot that wolf because it was charging me. I HAD to shoot that grizzly because it was charging me. It would be an absolute nightmare for conservation.

  5. Yes, let’s make the wild places safe for the casual city dweller who wants to experience ‘nature’ without endangering his ability to surf the Internet and post on Facebook.

    Yes, we’re all sure it was in self-defense, the individual placed himself in the bear’s habitat and was ignorant of the danger so obviously it’s the Bear’s fault for defending its territory.

    In fact, let’s just cut down all the trees and pave the wilderness to make it easier for the soft city dwellers to experience God’s creation, once man has remade it to suit him, rather than the creator.

    • I like how you assume things like you know exactly what happened, like you were floating above in spectator mode.

    • If he is such a “casual city dweller” please explain how he managed to kill a grizzly bear that was probably about to charge him? “Casual city dwellers” would be saying their last prayers, not having a decent enough gun and the cool to kill the bear.

      Like you were there. Could you done as well? If your post is an indication, probably not.

      • lol, I doubt if casual city dwellers would notice the bear prior to being processed through it’s alimentary canal. Even avid outdoors-men have often not had time for more than a “Holy Shit!” before being attacked by a bear during documented encounters.

        The article stated the man was from Marion Montana.

        “A judge sentenced the man from the northwestern Montana town of Marion to three years of probation and ordered him to pay $5,000 in restitution.”

        You know how to identify bears by their scat? Black bear shit smells like berries and has squirrel fur in it. Brown bear shot smells like pepper spray and has hiking boots in it.

    • Miner I smell bs. I have to agree with you on this one , the guy “pushed the carcass over a cliff after cutting its claws off ” the guy knew it was illegal & the griz was endangered & hoped he didn’t run in to fish & wildlife. Sounds like he just wanted bear claws & killed the bear thinking it’s cool & he wouldn’t get caught. Any pictures other than those he took of the bear ? Like did it scratch him .

    • I seem to recall you being an atheist. Until it’s handy to bring god or the bible in to your argument. Double standards being your only standards.

      • Yes, I am happy to revere all life, no matter how or who created it.

        The story is clearly BS, he shoved it over the cliff because he didn’t want fish and game seeing the multiple holes in its back.

        All he had to do was do the right thing and report killing the grizzly but he chose to take a trophy and dispose of the carcass without saying a word to anyone except Facebook.

        Most LEOs that I know use Facebook as their primary investigative tool because criminals are stupid enough to self incriminate by posting pictures. I’m glad to see it.

        • Miner, I also like how you now suddenly embrace territorialism and sovereignty, when I’m sure you’ve argued many times that it amounts to imperialism. This bear should’ve allowed this man into his territory. Borders are outdated and racist after all, aren’t they? When this man entered the bears territory, the bear should’ve welcomed him, offered him a job, free education, and allowed him to stay permanently. This bear was clearly a racist.

        • Revere all life? You’re a vocal supporter of the margeret sanger plan of genocide. But keep lying to yourself.

        • In answer to your comment JWM, I tend to follow the king James version of the Bible:

          “ Genesis 2:7 King James Version (KJV)

          7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

          No breathing, no soul.

          That actually goes back to the ancient Greeks as well. And the day I have a womb, is the day I have an opinion about what a woman can do with her womb. Until then, it’s enough for me to keep track of my own Willy.

        • Miner you are the worst kind of human, one who hides behind the teachings of the Lord only when it serves him.

          Miners writes… “I 𝑻𝒆𝒏𝒅 to follow the king James version of the Bible”……”And the day I have a womb, is the day I have an opinion about what a woman can do with her womb. Until then, it’s enough for me to keep track of my own Willy.”

          The KJV bible says in Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

          And in 1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man…”

          Miner your true ruler is the SWJ anti-religious crowd that knows no God but themselves. Your corrupted mind can see it no other way.

        • Nematode, you do bring up an interesting idea.

          Just what parts of the KJV should we pay attention to?

          JWM, I myself follow the first council of Nicaea in 325AD, and pick and choose which particular ancient taboos recorded on animal skins to follow.

          I even enjoy some that didn’t make it into the Final Cut, the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ is particularly interesting as it is said he was the only disciple who knew Jesus as a little boy.

          And I’m still waiting for the twilight zone episode, ‘Jesus: the missing years‘ to be released, I’m sure that will answer many questions. Personally, I think he went to Egypt to study under the pharaoh’s Wiseman but that’s just speculation.

        • Miner is a typical liberal. Just like liberals pick only the parts of the constitution they like to follow, he does the same with the Bible. It’s ok though. You liberal trolls do as much to get Trump re elected as CNN does.

        • Renee, are you not familiar with the origin of the KJV?

          Don’t you know that over the past 2000 years every different denomination that calls itself Christian has been picking and choosing which of the sacred scrolls to include?

          Why do you even include the New Testament? Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews don’t except the New Testament. You would think being Jews like Jesus, they would know what should be in and out but the Christians have this whole new set of sacred scrolls to include, what’s up with that?

          Most believers are cafeteria Christians anyway, “I’ll have some of that hate the queers but I don’t want any of that no shellfish part.”

        • “Psalm 139:13-16 You brought my inner parts into being; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise you, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and You know me completely. 15 My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and intricately put together in the lowest parts of the earth.. 16 Your eyes saw me unformed, yet in Your book all my days were written, before any of them came into being.” It’s pretty much a no-brainer God considers someone as one of his, long before they slide down the birth canal,

        • Hans mustard, you quote passages from the Psalms:

          “You brought my inner parts into being… “

          You do realize, that is not Jehovah speaking, that is the Psalmist writing a poem about God. I find it difficult to believe that any human 3000 years ago had any idea about the conception of human life.

          Those are just a Stone Age shepherd waxing poetic about his sky daddy, there’s no basis in actual fact or any evidence to support some sort of mystic divine knowledge.

          Biblical scholars have a doctrine called precedence, that which is mention first is most important. And it is in genesis where we find the Lord thy God narrating his own actions regarding breathing the breath of life into Adams nostrils and Adam becoming a living soul.

          Again, no breathing, no soul.

    • “In fact, let’s just cut down all the trees and pave the wilderness to make it easier for the soft city dwellers to experience God’s creation, once man has remade it to suit him, rather than the creator.”

      Yes, Joni…

      • Great Joni reference, thanks for the video!

        I guess the sound guy didn’t have a mike split to get a recording line so they just taped 2 mikes together for her vocal, gaff tape is magic!

    • Surfing the internet is easy if you have a satellite connection in your pack. If I ever find myself with a job that requires me to do overnight stays in remote locations like MWTC, Alaska, etc, I’m getting a sat-link. Cell service required line of sight and a good cliff or peak.

  6. City dwellers need to stay in the city, their the ones making up all these ridiculous rules, they know absolutely NOTHING about the wilderness,,, the city dwellers whine about protecting predators like wolves, grizzlies, puma, almost all carnivores, but they do nothing about the dirt bags that roam their cities, not only that the MONTANA motto is the 3 – S’s,,, Shoot… Shovel…& Shut Up…!

    • You know, this rule was put in place over 100 years ago, right? By the Republicans, are you aware of this?

  7. It is legal to kill even an endangered species in self defense. But fish and game wish to remove any profit motive from the equation. No keeping potentially pricey body parts as ‘trophies’.

  8. Transporting animal parts across state lines is not cool in most states nor is taking parts and leaving the animal to rot. Legitimate self-defense claims are understood.

    • Reporting something like this usually comes with a greater risk of legal problems than not reporting it. Up to each person what they decide to do if they ever find themselves in such a situation.

  9. I have heard of this before. About 25 years ago I knew a guy running an animal rescue type of animal center/zoo. He had a bear and a cougar die from being old and said he wasn’t allowed to sell the hides or teeth for some kind of red tape reason. I also contacted a Damascus knife maker a few years back to ask about a deer foot knife (I have a small one from Germany, deer hoof with fur still on the lower leg). He said he did several a few years back and put them on display in his shop, but the DNR fined him and confiscated the knives because he didn’t have proof the deer parts were taken legally. His antler knives were fine, just not his deer foot knives. We have some weird laws.

    Like the man that shot the bear that charged him in Gatlinburg last year. Other than he was being charged with a couple different things, I haven’t heard how that case turned out.

  10. First, a grizzly won’t eat you. Maul you to death yes, but grizzlies don’t usually like to consume humans unless the bear is diseased or starving. Chew you up as part of the mauling? You betcha. Black Bears on the other hand, do like backpackers in mummy bags. It’s the perfect Bear Burrito. Black bears and polar bears have no problem incorporating Ranger Smith into their diet, and have even been known to stalk humans as potential food sources. Second, you’re pissed off he’s going to eat you, sounds like someone with some real anger management issues, as most normal people would be scared Adam Schittless. Last, but not least, you knew it was illegal but you did it anyway, means you’re not only an imbecile but a criminal as well.

    • Black bears do not eat humans.

      It is almost impossible to get a black bear to attack you, you have to be a real idiot.

      “Black bears rarely attack when confronted by humans, and usually limit themselves to making mock charges, emitting blowing noises and swatting the ground with their forepaws. However, according to Stephen Herrero in his Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, 23 people were killed by black bears from 1900 to 1980. The number of black bear attacks on humans is higher than those of brown bears, though this is largely because black bears outnumber brown bears rather than being more aggressive. Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury and death. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and will seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[12]”

      Brown bears and grizzlies are more dangerous, but they are very easy to frighten away. If an individual maintains their situational awareness and keeps an eye on their immediate environment they can avoid dangerous encounters with bears.

      • Miner49er “It is almost impossible to get a black bear to attack you, you have to be a real idiot.”

        Then Miner49er, you better stay far away from black bears, after reading your posts above, there is a high probability that a black bear will attack you on sight.

  11. Having been prosecuted for a vast array of chicken little style critter endangering claims that were supposedly crimes against the environment and humanity, I learned one thing above all else:
    There are too many people, with too much time doing nothing productive, to justify their coveted expectations and rationalizations making them deserving of a middle class salary and benefits, from a government welfare job paid for by everyone else.
    Sorry for the long sentence, but you get the idea. Other ‘learnings’ from the affair for one was to keep information in a close circle about some things.

  12. Ok. If a machete wielding lunatic in a hockey mask kicks your door in, you can smoke him and you’re good to go, even in Commiefornia. But if you pull his teeth out and hide the body there will likely be consequences if you get caught.

  13. So the crime was not in killing the bear, that was self defense.

    The crime was not reporting it, cutting off the claws hiding the dead bear?

    Then transporting the claws over state lines?

    Far as I’m concerned if you are attacked by a bear and manage to survive AND kill the beast, you have the natural right to keep as much or as little of that apex predator as you damned well feel like.

    All Federal officers involved in prosecuting this case deserve to be fired and their pensions used to restore Bryan Berg financially.

    Now if this had been a poaching incident, my view would be completely the opposite on Berg and the lawmen who decided to turn his life to shit. But it isn’t, there is nothing morally wrong in what Berg did.

    • So we can agree that Ted Nugent is a wildlife poaching criminal, right?

      “Rocker and avid hunter Ted Nugent has agreed to pay a fine, serve probation and record a public service announcement as part of a deal to plead guilty to transporting an illegally killed black bear in Alaska, according to court documents.
      The plea deal, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, Alaska, stems from federal allegations that arose during a bear hunt in May 2009 that was filmed for Nugent’s television show, “Spirit of the Wild,” on the Outdoor Channel.”

      • Yes, of course we can. Berg and Nugent’s cases are in no way similar and Nugent has been a poacher on TV for at least a decade.

  14. State owns the wildlife here in MO. I hit a deer with the truck and it caused $1800 in damage. I called the state and told them they needed to pay my repairs due to the fact they owned the deer that did the damage. They laughed till I called my lawyer and listened to what he had to say. They paid my damage. Kinda makes you think about our laws alittle bit.

  15. They should have thrown the lying SOB in jail. Glad the judge saw through his BS story, just too bad he didn’t have the evidence for poaching and put him away.

    • So? What? You simply ignore the part where the Federal cops and prosecutors said it was a self defense shooting? Not poaching? You’re just going to ignore that part of it huh?

      Bryan Berg broke the law in taking and keeping the claws and not reporting the self defense killing of the bear. That’s what the cops and prosecutors say, and it is what he admitted to.

      Making shit up ain’t helpful.

  16. Haz
    Is she any good. Just asking. Been kind of lonely lately. You know, Elephants don’t make good company and the Alps have been cold lately.

    • Comment displaced by TTAG. Belongs up with “Emma.”
      Reminds me of “dangling participles.”

  17. These days, Even if it was a real self defense shooting, why would anyone report it? You will be vilified, harassed and accused. Shoot, shovel and shut up. As horrible as that sounds, it will save you probably jail time and fines just for defending yourself. Do you think those Montana ranchers report killing a wolf eating their cattle. There is a program that is place to compensate ranchers for wolf kills, doesn’t really solve the problem though…they solve it themselves.

  18. Gotta love all the greenhorns polluting the comments thread.
    Reporting any bear shooting is bog standard procedure for any adult carrying a gun. Otherwise it looks suspiciously like poaching. Which is why fish and game got involved by… doing their jobs?
    The horror!
    It’s the equivalent of shooting a “burglar” in your house and then acting shocked when the police and district attorney take umbrage when they discover you buried the body in your basement.

    • WRONG!

      Killing a bear is not remotely similar to killing a human being under any law of any State or the Federal government. The comparison is laughable, silly nonsense.

      Federal law enforcement investigated and along with prosecutors, determined this was not a poaching incident.

      But of course, being an internet expert, you know best.

      • IMHO, the reason he got slapped with a $5000 fine is because he never reported shooting the grizzly to start with as mandated by law. I’d bet if he had, F&W probably would have demanded he turn over the claws and case closed after investigating to make sure it really did seem like a self defense shooting of the bear.

        Yeah, its not remotely like killing a human, but the point is the real violation was just not reporting it. Doesn’t really matter if it was all fine in the end.

        Want something a little closer, if someone pulls out in front of me while I am driving down the road and I hit them, it is the person’s fault who pulled out in front of me. But if I drive off for whatever reason (maybe I am worried I was on a suspended license. Or maybe I am just in a hurry because my boss is mad I’ve been late all week to work), that is considered a hit and run in EVERY state. Doesn’t matter if you are the not at fault driver.

        This guy was not-at-fault for killing a bear in self defense. But he is legally required to report it. He was cleared of it after investigating. He would have been cleared of it at the time too. The difference is he broke the law that requires you to report it so that F&W CAN investigate to make sure it was legitimate. There also other good valid reasons why. F&W want to keep track of human-bear incidents. Reporting the shooting is required in instances when the bear IS NOT killed to. Also so that F&W can investigate because there might be a man killer running lose still.

        Face it, the guy knew he had to report it and didn’t. He knew taking the bear claws was illegal and did it. I don’t see how his $5000 and probation are wrong. If he’d done the right thing to start with, he might have dealt with half a dozen or dozen hours of butt pain of working with F&W investigating the case and clearing him. If even that. He had pictures and video. I suspect that means he would have given a statement, turned over the evidence, maybe had to go to the location with officers and show them and done.

  19. If I shoot a mugger in self defense, can I keep his claws for souvenirs? Not that I would, but I wonder if Fish & Wildlife has an official position on this.

  20. Maybe you guys are all correct, the man should’ve been allowed to take the bear calls or even the entire bear.

    So what democommie, libtard or SJW is responsible for this terrible law to turn this innocent gun owner into a criminal?

    Oh look, it was a Republican who is responsible for this law:

    “Bryan Berg, 35, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today to illegal transportation of grizzly bear claws, a Lacey Act Violation.”

    “The Lacey Act of 1900, or simply the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371–3378) is a conservation law in the United States that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold.
    Introduced into Congress by Rep. John F. Lacey, an Iowa Republican, the Act was signed into law by President William McKinley on May 25, 1900. It protects both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for those who violate the rules and regulations.”

    It is just like Reagan banning guns on federal lands, the Republicans are the freedom-stealers once again, interesting.

    • so what you’re saying is the gop is standing up for and protecting the environment and the wild critters? Just like they’re standing up for the rights of us humans.

      Now which party is violating human and civil rights? Especially the right to gather and protest? That would be the dems, of course.

      • No, I’m saying that 100 years ago the Republicans were true conservationist, protecting the natural environment and wildlife for future generations.

        Unfortunately, all that have changed and as Reagan’s secretary of the interior James Watt said we need to cut down all the trees so Jesus can return.

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