About 20 years ago, school kids decided that the state animal for Montana should be the grizzly bear.
According to the state of Montana's www.MontanaKids.com Web site, it was in 1982 that then Secretary of State Jim Waltermire decided that school children across the state should vote on what species would be the official state animal. The state Office of Public Instruction and Montana School Boards Association helped coordinate the voting.
When it was done, 425 schools and more than 55,000 students were involved by nominating 74 different animals. There were rallies, speeches, posters, bumper stickers and more to promote one animal instead of another. Primary elections and general elections were held.
When it was all said and done and the votes were counted, the grizzly bear was officially named the state animal — a winner by a 2-to-1 margin over elk.
— Mark Henckel,
Gazette Outdoor Editor