A massive grizzly attacked and injured a bird hunter in a creek bottom east of the town of Choteau, southeast of Glacier National Park, according to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials. The 51-year-old Washington state man did not sustain life-threatening injuries, before shooting the animal.
According to Dave Hagengruber, spokesperson for the state wildlife department, the man and his wife were hunting on private property when their dogs went on point. He went to flush the bird when a 677-pound boar grizzly charged out from the brush, knocked the man down and trampled him. The man then fired at the bear with his shotgun and handgun, wounding the animal, which beat a hasty retreat back into the underbrush. The couple and their dogs notified authorities after leaving the scene.
State and federal wildlife officials decided the bear had to be euthanized because of its injuries. A drone was used to locate the bear, Hagengruber said. The injured man spent the night in the hospital, though he did not suffer claw or bit marks. The bear had no known previous history of human conflict and had never been handled by bear managers. the attack was likely a surprise encounter.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks urged bird hunters to exercise caution in and around Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area south of Ronan after the grizzly encounter.