A bicyclist in Montana is dead after a grizzly bear attacked her while camping.
According to Powell County Sheriff Gavin Roselles, the terrifying incident occurred in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The attack happened in Ovando, a small town in the western part of the state. It’s located approximately 74 miles away from the state’s capital of Helena.
Roselles also confirmed that the victim deployed bear spray during the attack. Authorities also announced that the bear left the scene of the incident before first responders arrived.
Upon arrival, paramedics found a woman suffering from injuries of a bear attack. Sadly, their attempts to treat her injuries were unsuccessful, according to Roselles.
Later on, the Sheriff’s Department released a press release: “The Powell County Sheriff’s Office along with the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks officers processed the scene and spent several hours searching for the bear involved in the attack.”
They added that they also utilized “resources on the ground and in the air. Search efforts will continue over the next couple of days and traps have been set in the area in case the bear does return.”
It continued: “Campsites in Ovando have been closed until Sunday.” They are also encouraging “anyone in the area to be cautious and aware that as of now, the bear has not been located.”
Currently, the Sherrif’s Department has not yet released the identity of the victim. However, the local newspaper, The Independent Record, reported that she was part of a long-distance cycling group.
Bear Raids Chicken Coop Before Attack
Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Park spokesperson Greg Lemon also told the publication that bear attacks are not common. However, this region of Montana has a high bear population.
“This isn’t normal bear behavior, and it’s the kind we want to address right away,” Lemon said. “Most of the time when we have grizzly-human encounters that result in injury, most of the time the bear is doing normal bear stuff — protecting food resources, protecting cubs or a surprise encounter.”
He added, “This doesn’t really apply in this situation, where somebody was camping at night.”
On Monday, the bear in question was captured on surveillance camera footage from a local business. Before the attack, the bear raided a chicken coop, according to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Park.
Additionally, according to Roselles, the bear visited the campsite several times. However, it later returned and attacked the camper, per the Associated Press.
Now, wildlife officials will kill the bear once located, Lemon revealed to The Independent Record.
“We have a bear roaming around town that had already hit a chicken coop. So our response is different than if it was normal bear behavior,” he said.