Two Montana Hunters Injured by Grizzly Bear

Black Bear

A hunter and his son were seriously injured in a grizzly bear attack while hunting in Northern Montana.

The pair, from the Flathead Valley, were hunting along a gated road when a grizzly bear charged out of a thick, wooded area at very close range. The two individuals sustained significant injuries before they were able to shoot and kill the bear.

“Based on the evidence gathered at the scene and interviews with the victims, we believe this was a surprise encounter involving an adult female grizzly bear defending a food source and her offspring,” Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Regional Game Warden Captain Lee Anderson said.

Bear attacks on humans are rare, but Montana is bear country with populations of grizzly and black bears that frequent higher and lower elevations. Bears are increasingly active and seeking food in the fall months before denning season. Bears typically enter their dens for the winter beginning in late November.

If you are out hunting in an area where bears are common, follow these general tips to stay safe:

  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Stay alert and look for bear activity, especially where visibility and hearing are limited.
  • Hiking in a group will decrease the chances of surprising a bear. A group of people is more likely to deter an encounter, and bears will be able to see, hear, and smell the people more easily.
  • Make your presence known by making noise, 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.
  • Avoid carcass sites and scavenger concentrations
  • Hunters should be prepared to cut up the carcass of a harvested animal in the dark by carrying strong headlamps. Be extra vigilant and watch for bears.