May 11, 2011 12:08 PM by Kay Rossi (Great Falls)
An investigation is underway following the fatal shooting of a grizzly bear near Fairfield on Tuesday morning.
Rancher Rick Christy tells us that two grizzlies were preying on his livestock early Tuesday, killing 5 ewes and 1 lamb, and injuring 2 other ewes.
Christy says he grabbed a rifle after witnessing the attacks from a distance.
As he moved closer, he saw a bear attacking a ewe within just 10 yards of where he was standing.
That's when he says he took the action he thought was necessary: "It was definitely 'heat of the moment' situation. I didn't feel there was any other options. The bears paid no attention to me. I wasn't about to climb over the fence and chase 'em on foot. I felt that to save the life of the sheep I had to shoot the bear."
Christy says he definitely feels the pressure of bears is getting greater and that it was only a matter of time before he encountered them on his property.