Back in June, Montana homeowner Jamie Goguen shared a series of photos that showed an enormous grizzly bear tearing up her 6-foot tall generator shed. A biologist estimated the bear’s weight at nearly 1,000 pounds, and the pictures quickly went viral on social media. Now, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has teamed up with Goguen to equip the shed with electric fencing that’s designed to the deter the over-sized bruin from making any future visits.
In an August 7 Facebook post, FWP said the bear that roughed up Goguen’s shed is a breeding-age male that’s been frequenting her property for years. The shed is used to house her gas-powered generator. It contained no food or other common attractants that would typically draw in a wandering grizz, the agency said.
“Bears are often curious about wood stains/oils/varnishes/shellacs and other outdoor treatments and will readily chew and rub on these treated woods,” FWP wrote on Facebook. “Once a scent post is created, other bears traveling in the area will rub in the same spot to make their presence known.”
The series of photos that prompted FWP to electrify Goguen’s shed are truly staggering. One shows the grizzly reaching up to rip down a piece of facia board with its immense claws. In another, the animal stands up on its haunches to scratch its back against the shed while its pumpkin-like head towers above the roof. A final photo shows the bruin lying down at the base of the shed next to a pile of shredded boards.
At first glance, the bear standing next to Goguen’s shed looks like one of the giant coastal brown bears that inhabit southwest Alaska. FWP wildlife management specialist Justine Valeries estimated the bear’s weight at somewhere between 700 and 800 pounds. On average, male grizzlies in Montana tend to weigh roughly 400 to 500 pounds.
Goguen’s shed is located on Montana’s eastern front, where the state’s rolling prairies collide with the towering peaks of the northern Rocky Mountains. According to FWP, grizzlies began returning to the area in 2020 when a lone bear was spotted in the community of Big Sandy. That sighting represented the “farthest expansion east of known grizzly bear movement” in Montana in modern times, the agency said in a press release.