Grizzly Bear Attacks Man; Sightings, Incidents Increase

A man was injured in Montana during an attack from a grizzly bear, with state officials citing more interactions with the bruins as summer arrives.

Grizzly Bear Attacks Man; Sightings, Incidents Increase

A female grizzly bear attacked a man camping near the Sun River in Montana, leaving him with non-life-threatening injuries.

The attack occurred west of Augusta, which is in the west-central part of the state. The man and friends were packing a campsite and the man stepped into some brush. He found himself between the sow and her cub, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks report.

After the attack, the group called 911 and a helicopter airlifted the victim to a hospital. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated and said it "determined the bear acted as expected during a surprise encounter with a human. Because the bear exhibited what is considered normal and expected behavior, no further action is planned."

Grizzlies can be found throughout western Montana, not just the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In recent years, grizzly bear populations have expanded, and bears are re-colonizing historic ranges.

Montana FWP also reported capturing three grizzly bears south of Ferndale along the northwestern edge of Swan Lake after residents reported repeated sightings. The bears were eating grass in yards, knocking over grills and upturning refuse containers. Non-lethal culvert traps were used to capture the bearss, which were moved to the North Fork of the Flathead drainage.

Also, FWP officials captured and relocated two male grizzly bears from the Blackfoot Valley after a newborn calf was killed on a cattle ranch near Helmville on May 7.

Because multiple grizzlies and wolves were at site it was not possible to determine which bear was involved. Neither of the two bears captured had a prior history of interactions with livestock or humans. Both bears were collared and relocated to remote areas in northwest Montana.

The ranch is working with the local Blackfoot Challenge watershed group to discuss the feasibility of using electric fencing to help prevent future livestock depredations. Due to the timing of the ranches calving period on the open range, there is overlap with elk and deer calving, making the ranch more susceptible to grizzly bear and wolf predation.

Bear Safety Tips

Montana FWP officials recommend the following safety tips while in bear country:

  • Inquire about recent bear activity in the area.
  • Carry and know how to use bear spray for emergencies.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Travel in groups of three or more people whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.
  • Stay on trails or rural roads.
  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.
  • Keep children close.
  • Make your presence known by talking, singing, carrying a bell, or other means, especially when near streams or in thick forest where visibility is low. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.
  • Use caution in areas like berry patches where bears occur.
  • Don't approach a bear; respect their space and move off.

If you are camping in bear country, follow these guidelines:

  • Camp away from trails and areas where you see grizzly signs.
  • Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of odors.
  • Avoid cooking smelly foods.
  • Hang all food, trash and other odorous items well away from camp and at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from any vertical support, or store in a bear-proof container. Livestock feed should be treated the same as human food.
  • Don't sleep in the same clothes you wore while cooking or eating.

Anglers also need to practice safe behavior in bear country:

  • Don't leave fish entrails on shorelines of lakes and streams.
  • Sink entrails in deep water.
  • If you don't properly dispose of entrails you increase danger to yourself and to the next person to use the area.


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