Mother bear killed after attack on hunters in Montana

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A mother Grizzly bear, believed to be protecting her cub and guarding food, was killed after an attack on hunters in Montana. According to a news release from Montana Fish and Wildlife, the attack took place on October 31 near Smith Lake north of Whitefish Lake.

The release details what transpired:

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

The ALERT Air Ambulance transported the individuals to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment.

An investigation of the area revealed a deer carcass nearby – the deceased grizzly was determined to be a 20-year-old female who had no history of conflict. FWP Regional Game Warden Captain Lee Anderson said,

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.

The agency has provided tips to stay safe in bear territory:

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.

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