Photo courtesy of Scott Seling

The Easter bear of Big Sky


South canyon residents received an unexpected Easter guest – what locals estimate was a 500 pound grizzly bear. 

The bear entered their lives the day before Easter feeling playful. He tossed around some dog toys for a while at the residence of John and Kay Rozum and accidentally popped a volleyball. “He didn’t mean to pop the volleyball, he was just playing,” Kay said. The bear then attempted to snag some barbeque pork loin he smelled from their smoker, but with no luck. John and Kay had already retrieved their meal. John scared the bear off just as his neighbor across the river, Brad “Mister” Tidwell looked out his dining room window. 

“He covered a lot of ground fast, I can tell you that,” he said. “He was gorgeous.” On Easter, Scott Seling discovered his unexpected guest. “Bo (his dog) and I walked out the side door to find ourselves in the dog pen with a 500 pound grizzly bear,” he said. When asked what his initial thoughts were when seeing the grizzly bear, his reply was to the point: “Not much thought went into it other than Holy sh––! Back inside.” He said the bear was more frightened of them.

Though the bear, having caught the whiff of a hen house, did not travel far, eventually settling on top of the chicken coop long enough for Seling to snap some photos. This was before he decided to help himself to Easter dinner. “He was looking for food and made a mess of my chicken coop,” Selling said, noting that the bear feasted. In all, five of Seling’s six unnamed hens met their end in order to feed his guest. The bear traveled north the following day, with John and Kay Rozum spotting him again at the shooting range off of Hwy. 191. They pulled into the parking lot to hear the tale from a marksman: He had just set out his targets and was setting up to begin taking shots, when the bear swept through and began shredding his targets. So, in lieu of target practice as his Easter treat, the marksman was able to shoot a video of the cheeky bear making toys out of his targets. The Rozums wanted to remind all residents to store smokers and barbeques appropriately. Also, be bear aware – bears are particularly hungry coming out of hibernation and can be more aggressive in the spring.

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