A man was attacked by a female grizzly bear on Sunday morning near the Sun River. The attack left the man with non-life-threatening injuries.
The man was part of a group who were floating and camping on the Sun River, west of Augusta. The group was packing up their campsite when the attack occurred at about 8:30 a.m. After stepping into some brush, the man found himself between the female grizzly and her 2-year-old cub.
The group was able to call 911, and the man was carried out by helicopter and taken to a hospital.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the scene and 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.
Here are some general tips to stay safe 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.