September 28, 2017


A father and son hunting black bears in Montana were nearly killed by a grizzly after they suddenly found themselves just 12 feet away from the beast, wildlife officials said.

The unidentified father and his adult son were hiking through “steep slopes and thick vegetation” near the Hungry Horse Reservoir in the northwestern portion of the state Sunday when they came upon the grizzly bear, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.

“The bear charged at them and attacked the son,” the agency said in a statement released Wednesday. “They saw the brush moving 25 to 30 yards away, but did not see the bear until it was about 12 feet away.”

The 250-pound female grizzly bear then grabbed the younger hunter’s right arm at the elbow, prompting the man’s father to shoot the bear to get the animal off his son.

“The bear released, and the father shot again,” state wildlife officials said. “The father shot the bear one more time, at very close range, as the bear turned toward him.”

The agency’s Human Attack Response Team responded to the scene later Sunday and found the dead female grizzly nearby. Investigators determined that the animal was roughly 12 years old and was in good condition prior to the killing.

“This was an unmarked bear with no known management history,” wildlife officials said in a statement. “Even though no young bears were visible, [investigators] stated that the bear’s behavior prior to the attack was indicative of a defense of young attack and the bear was attempting to reduce the potential threat to her young.”

Based on the bear’s condition, state wildlife officials believe the bear was not a lactating female, meaning she was most likely accompanied by at least one young bear up to 2 years old.

Neither man was carrying bear spray at the time of the attack, according to FWP officials, who reminded hunters to carry the deterrent as bears are now actively feeding in preparation for winter. The father is in his 60s, while his son is in his 30s, the Billings Gazette reports.

FWP Warden Chris Crane said doctors will now monitor the man’s injuries for infections.


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