Montana Shooting: Black Bear Killed By Thomas Bolkcom In The Rural Community Beartooth Mountains

BILLINGS — A guy in Montana killed a black bear that had broken into his home and terrified his wife with his firearm after being woken up in the middle of the night by his barking dog. Thomas Bolkcom and his fiancée, Seeley Oblander, and their two dogs live in the small village of Luther at the foot of the steep Beartooth Mountains, where they were confronted by the huge bruin. Dog Maizey woke the couple up at around 3 a.m., Oblander said, after they had been up late the night before getting ready to fly to Arizona for the bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Bolkcom, 27, went to check and try to persuade the lab-pit bull mix downstairs when he turned around “and there’s this black bear standing in the living room five feet away,” Oblander said. Bolkcom is a commercial painter and elk shooter. Bolkcom stripped down to his underwear and raced downstairs to grab a revolver before returning to the living room to shoot the bear. He followed the bear into another room and shot it multiple times. A screened-in window was damaged when the animal entered. Oblander, who is 26, claimed that was trapped and that he was in the path of both Bolkcom and the exit.

She added, “That was quite a wakeup call at three in the morning; I never thought there would be a bear in our house.” Tom took care of it, and all I did was stay downstairs with the dogs and try to keep them occupied. What he accomplished was excellent. Bolkcom’s brother, the couple, and the game warden were able to bring the bear outdoors, and the men’s dads came to the house to talk to the warden before the men left for their early morning trip.

Rocky Oblander, who came to the residence on Friday to remove blood-stained carpeting, said the warden told them the bear was roughly 10 years old and 250-300 pounds (113-136 kilos).”At least nobody got hurt,” he said. “It’s just too sad because it was such a beautiful bear.” According to Chrissy Webb, a spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the warden concluded that the shooting was necessary for self-defense.  Webb claimed he saw a black bear in the neighborhood a few weeks ago, and that the bear had been feeding on trash from open cans and other sources. Webb said the bear probably developed conditioned to link humans with food, making the situation unsafe for local neighbors and the animal, even though the house that was broken into did not have any unsecured food or rubbish.

A bear breaking into a house is “pretty abnormal behavior,” Webb said. “Improperly stored attractants in the community led to the death of this large male black bear.” Recently, bears have been sighted in a jacuzzi in Southern California, a backyard in Maine, and an Idaho man’s garage. Bears are more active in the spring and summer. A 48-year-old Kansas woman was killed by a grizzly bear last month while running or hiking on a trail west of Yellowstone National Park, not far from West Yellowstone, Montana.


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