Searching for grizzlies? Bring your bear spray - 60 Minutes

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This week on 60 Minutes, Bill Whitaker reports on the successful repopulation of the American grizzly bear.
When 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, producer Rome Hartman, and associate producer Sara Kuzmarov work together, their stories often get a little wild. They have seen wolves in Yellowstone, sharks on the shores off Cape Cod, and this week, grizzly bears in Montana's Swan Range. But these experiences do not tend to come without a bit of a hunt.

"Every time I go out to do an animal story, I say I'm never going to do an animal story again, because they're wild animals, and it's never certain that you're going to find the animal you go out looking for," Whitaker said.

This time was no different.

After days of searching for grizzlies with experts from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the 60 Minutes team had yet to see one. Whitaker was packed and ready to head to the airport when he received a hopeful call from wildlife specialist Erik Wenum.

After driving two and a half hours up a mountain, Whitaker followed Wenum into a thicket of trees. Finally, the sound everyone had been waiting for — growling. A 300-pound grizzly was caught by a trap, called a snare, which Wenum and his team had set.

At least, they hoped the bear was trapped. As Wenum approached the animal, with Whitaker at his heels, no one knew if the snare had fully caught the bear's wrist to keep it confined. Then the bear charged, first at Wenum, then at 60 Minutes cameraman Don Lee.

"Thank God the snare held," Whitaker said.

Eric Kerchner/60 Minutes

GRIZZLIES IN MONTANA

Whitaker and the 60 Minutes team went to Montana to tell a recovery success story. In 1975 grizzly bears were…
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