Posted: Sep 19, 2012 2:20 PM
An elk hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear while cow calling in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest last week.
On Friday, Sept. 14, a man and wife were archery hunting off Indian Creek Trail in the Madison Range when the man began cow calling. He heard rustling in the brush about 15 yards away and saw a female grizzly staring at him, according to a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The bear jumped on the man and bit him in the arm and head before backing off and running away. The man did not suffer life threatening injuries.
The grizzly was drawn to the hunter because they were both hunting elk, according to FWP. She was with her two young cubs at the time of the encounter and that added to the likelihood for conflict.
"These archery hunters were experienced and bear aware individuals. However, archery hunting carries with it the inherent risk of bear encounters - especially when imitating the sounds of prey. And while both hunters were carrying bear spray, it was not accessible given the swiftness and distance between the bear and the hunter at the time of the encounter," the release from FWP states.
FWP recommends that recreationists be prepared to use bear spray, especially when calling for elk. This means having the spray within quick reach (outside of a jacket, in a holster) because in the case of an encounter, there isn't time to reach into your pack for spray. Recreationalists should also not venture out alone and should not run when they see a bear.
More information about safety in the outdoors and bear awareness can be found at fwp.mt.gov.