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Archery hunter attacked by grizzly in Gravelly Mountains


Tue Sep 05 16:01:48 MDT 2017

HELENA – An archery hunter survived a grizzly bear attack in the southern Gravelly Mountains Monday morning.

The incident occurred when two archery hunters surprised a grizzly feeding on a carcass. The hunters yelled at the bear which immediately attacked. Both hunters had bear spray, one deployed it while the other did not. The bear went after the hunter who did not use his bear spray.

The hunter with bear spray deployed his can on the bear as it mauled his partner. The bear then retreated. The attacked hunter sustained non-life-threatening injuries to his head, shoulder, arms and thigh. He was treated at the Madison Valley Medical Center in Ennis.

Grizzly bears are common in the Gravelly Mountains, which are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Archery hunters should take every possible precaution when hunting in bear country. Bear country means anywhere in the western half of the state. All hunters should:

  • carry bear spray AND be ready to use it at a second’s notice;
  • hunt with a partner, leave detailed plans with someone and check-in periodically;
  • pay attention to fresh bear sign. Look for bear tracks, scat, and concentrations of natural foods;
  • use caution when hunting areas that have evidence of bear activity or areas with scavenging birds such as magpies, ravens, or crows;
  • get harvested big game out of the woods quickly;
  • upon returning to a site where harvested game is left unattended, study the site at a distance for any movement or changes and signal your approach by making plenty of noise;
  • never attempt to frighten or haze a bear from a carcass;
  • contact FWP if a bear has consumed a carcass or covered it with debris rendering it unsalvageable.

Most grizzly bears will typically leave an area if they sense human presence. Hunters who observe a grizzly bear or suspect a bear is nearby should leave the area.

If you encounter a grizzly, stay calm, don't run, and assess the situation by trying to determine if the bear is actually aware of you. Is it, for instance, threatening or fleeing? Always keep the bear in sight as you back away, and leave the area.

For more on bears, visit FWP's website at; then click Be Bear Aware. Bear resistant products are described on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee's website at  A “How to Hunt Safely in Grizzly Country” brochure is also available at FWP regional offices.