NewsMontana News


Grizzly bear injures hunter east of Choteau

Posted at 12:21 PM, Oct 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-13 10:03:37-04

CHOTEAU - A 51-year-old man from Washington state was injured after being attacked by a grizzly bear in Teton County on Tuesday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said in a news release the man and his wife encountered the bear at around 1 p.m. while hunting for upland birds in a creek bottom east of Choteau.

The bear charged out of thick brush at close range. The hunter fired at the bear with a shotgun and handgun, wounding the bear and stopping the attack.

The hunters and their dogs left the area and notified authorities of the attack. The man's injuries were not life-threatening.

FWP bear management specialists, game wardens, and Teton County sheriff's deputies returned to the site where they found and euthanized the bear later that afternoon, after consultation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The 677-pound adult male grizzly had no known history of human conflict and had never been handled by bear managers.

Evidence at the site suggested the attack was the result of a surprise encounter, according to FWP.

FWP advises everyone to guard against surprise encounters and remain vigilant and safe in bear country:

  • Carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and be prepared to use it immediately.  
  • Look for bear sign and be cautious around creeks and areas with limited visibility.  
  • Hunt with a group of people. Making localized noise can alert bears to your presence.  
  • Be aware that elk calls and cover scents can attract bears.  
  • Bring the equipment and people needed to help field dress game and remove the meat from the kill site as soon as possible. 
  • If you need to leave part of the meat in the field during processing, hang it at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 150 yards from the gut pile. Leave it where it can be observed from a distance of at least 200 yards.  
  • Upon your return, observe the meat with binoculars. If it has been disturbed or if a bear is in the area, leave and call FWP.