Montana Hunters Fire Warning Shots at Charging Grizzly Bear, Escape Uninjured

by Taylor Cunningham
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Two Montana hunters escaped uninjured after being ambushed by a grizzly bear. The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department shared in a press release on Tuesday that the hunters were walking Eldridge Trial near Taylor Creek in the Madison Range on Oct. 14 when the animal caught them off guard.

“They heard brush breaking and saw a grizzly bear charging at them,” officials said. “Both hunters fired multiple handgun rounds at the bear, and it left without any signs of injury.”

Officials went on to explain that the female bear was probably protecting her cubs, and she wasn’t a real threat to humans.

“The bear’s charge was likely the result of a surprise, defensive encounter because of the wind direction, the bear’s proximity to the hunters, and because the female bear was accompanied by two cubs,” the release continued.

Somehow neither the hunters nor the grizzly bear was hurt. The following day, FWP staff flew over the area and walked the trail, and they found absolutely no evidence that a bullet hit the animal. Staff members found multiple shell casings, but no blood or hair. However, the incident remains under investigation.

A Nearly 700-Pound Grizzly Bear Attacks Bird Hunter

Three days earlier, another hunter was caught by surprise when a 677-pound grizzly bear charged. Luckily, the man survived, but unlike the two above, he did suffer several injuries.

FWP announced on Oct. 11 that a 51-year-old Washington man was hunting for game birds with his wife and dogs in Teton County when the bear charged from the brush. The animal attacked, and the hunter fired his shotgun in defense.

The bear was wounded and retreated. The man, his wife, and their dogs managed to leave the area and contact authorities. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the attack.

According to the release, FWP game wardens, Teton County deputies, and bear specialists searched the area immediately after the report. Once located, the animal was euthanized.

The release added that the male grizzly had not been handled by bear managers in the past. It also didn’t have a known history of human conflict.

Officials ask that hunters and hikers take special precautions while traversing wild areas in Montana. People should always carry bear spray and have it readily available. While walking through low visibility areas, always be mindful and watch for signs of bears.

If hunting, go in groups. Also, be aware that certain noises and smells like elk calls and cover scents can attract bears. And it’s important to remove meat from kill sites immediately.

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