A hunter in Montana’s Gallatin National Forest was set upon by a grizzly bear while tracking a deer.
The hunter was tracking a deer with a hunting party when they encountered the grizzly around 1:45 p.m. Friday near Yellow Mule Trail, outside Big Sky, the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue said in a news release. Big Sky is a popular resort area about 55 miles north of Yellowstone National Park.
The bear was shot at and likely wounded during the encounter, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Multiple crews responded to the remote area where the hunter was attacked and airlifted them to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center for further evaluation. No update on the extent of the hunter’s injuries or their current condition was immediately available.
There’s no evidence that the as-yet-unnamed hunter did anything wrong, or that he could have prevented the attack in any way. Grizzly bears are apex predators; they tend to view anything in their environment as either food or competition, and in either case, a human may find him or herself facing an attacking bruin.
And as this incident shows, even people who are well-equipped (by that I mean, armed) and experienced in the wilderness can be involved in a bear attack. It’s kind of sad that the bear will almost certainly have to be destroyed for being a bear, but it may well be injured, and has already shown the tendency towards attacking humans. So that’s probably the wisest course of action.
The Montana authorities are warning people again about the dangers bears can pose:
The Montana Department of Fish and Game warned in a press release issued Friday that the likelihood of encounters between grizzlies and humans is increasing as the bear population grows more widespread in Montana.
Last week, authorities killed another grizzly after the bear and its cub broke into an unoccupied house near West Yellowstone and took a container of dog food. The cub was captured alive.
Genetic analysis and other identifying factors determined that bear had fatally mauled Amie Adamson, a 48-year-old former teacher from Kansas, on a forest trail west of Yellowstone National Park in July. Officials were unable to capture the bear at the time.
The adult female grizzly had also injured a person near Henrys Lake State Park in 2020, about 16 miles from West Yellowstone.
This is something anyone who lives in bear country should be aware of. Bears are big, they are dangerous, and they are not genetically equipped to be afraid of much of anything. While grizzlies draw the most attention as they are big, charismatic mega-fauna, blacks can also be dangerous. Black bears can seem timid and even tame, but that can change in a moment — the moment the bear is startled, perceives a threat, or just gets pissed off.
Which brings us to this idiot:
A man with more guts than brains gets a bear to leave a party. What would you do in this situation? pic.twitter.com/7wTiKIs4o6
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 8, 2023
This, folks, is the perfect example of what not to do with a bear. The mistakes this impressively lucky clown made were several; he approached the bear in the first place, he tried to get the bear to move away, and he walked along following the bear as it vacated the area. Notice that the bear took a casual swipe at him with a forepaw, leaving what appeared to be some minor scratches, but the guy could have been disemboweled.
This man literally did everything wrong and walked away with scratches. The Montana hunter appears to have done nothing wrong (although all the details are not yet in) and was put in the hospital.
The lesson? Wildlife can be dangerous. Bears can be really dangerous. Don’t approach them.
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