In the span of less than 12 hours, three men who were hunting in southwest Montana’s Gravelly Mountains earlier this spring were injured in two separate grizzly bear attacks.
The first attack occurred Monday morning around 7:30 a.m. A large bear charged two elk hunters as they were heading south from Cottonwood Creek, west of Black Butte. Both hunters sustained injuries but managed to scare the bear off and reach medical treatment in Ennis, a news release says.
After receiving medical treatment, the two gentlemen then drove to a sporting goods store to pick up some new hunting clothes since, you know, they had just been attacked by a grizzly bear.
According to NBC Montana, the guys told a store employee they think the bear had been sleeping close to the trail they were walking on when they startled it.
“They said he was up and in their face, just right there on them before they even had a chance to really grab a gun or do anything, which I think is important for people to know,” the employee told NBC Montana.
Hours later, a second attack took place in the same general location at about 6:30 p.m. It was a similar scenario as the attack from earlier that morning, as two hunters were heading north toward Cottonwood Creek when the bear attacked. One of the hunters was injured before they drove the big grizzly away. The injured hunter was initially treated in Sheridan and then later in Butte.
Then, just when wardens were about to call off the search for the bear – or bears – involved in those encounters, a third attack happened.
This one occurred several miles from the fist attack, but it is still unclear if this was the same bear or another.
The following was posted to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks‘ website:
FWP reminds everyone to be cautious when in the field as bears are active during the spring, summer and fall months. Some recommended tips for avoiding negative encounters with bears include:
- Be prepared and aware of your surroundings.
- Carry and know how to use bear spray.
- Travel in groups whenever possible.
- Stay away from animal carcasses.
- Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations.
- If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.
For more information on bear safety, visit fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware.