A pair of Montana hunters tried to ward off a charging grizzly bear with yells and a shot into the air on Saturday before one of the men lowered his weapon and killed the animal.

The unidentified men were hunting pheasants near the town of Pendroy when the female grizzly bear and her three cubs charged into view while pursuing the hunters' dog.

The bear then went after one of the hunters, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

FWP bear management specialist Wesley Sarmento described the incident to KPAX 8:  “At first the bear charged the hunting dog that was with the party, until the gentleman yelled at the bear, and the bear turned and ran towards the gentleman. The hunter then shot in the air, and the bear kept coming, and so he shot the bear in the chest, and he shot the bear in the face.”

The animal ran off and its carcass was discovered later by FWP wardens.

Grizzly bears are protected in Montana and can only be killed in self defense. Photo: Courtesy of USFWS

The hunters were not injured and the incident remains under investigation. Grizzly bears are protected in Montana and can only be killed in self defense. Anyone charged with illegally shooting a grizzly bear faces a fine of $3,000 and up to six months in jail. Hunters are advised to carry bear spray  and take other measures to avoid confrontations.

The fate of the grizzly bear cubs is uncertain.

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