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Three hunters survive Gravelly Mountains grizzly attacks

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PHOTO BY JIM PEACO / NPS

FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS

BOZEMAN — Three hunters were injured Monday in two separate grizzly bear attacks on the west side of the Gravelly Mountains. 

The three survivors received moderate to severe injuries. Both attacks involved a single bear, but it’s unclear whether the same bear was involved. Wardens with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are asking hunters to leave this area while the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest closes Cottonwood Road. 

The first attack happened Monday at approximately 7:30 a.m. A bear charged two adult male hunters as they were heading south from Cottonwood Creek, west of Black Butte. Both hunters were injured but were able to drive the bear away and get medical treatment in Ennis. 

The second attack happened in the same general area at about 6:30 p.m. as two adult male hunters were heading north toward Cottonwood Creek. One of the hunters was injured before they drove the bear away. The injured hunter was initially treated in Sheridan and later in Butte. 

Details of these attacks are still unclear. Both incidents are still under investigation. More information will be provided as it becomes available. 

FWP reminds everyone to be cautious when in the field as bears are active during the spring, summer and fall months. Some recommended tips for avoiding negative encounters with bears include: 

• Carry and know how to use bear spray. 

• Be prepared and aware of your surroundings. 

• Travel in groups whenever possible. 

• Stay away from animal carcasses. 

• Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations. 

• If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area. 

For more information on bear safety, visit fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/livingWithWildlife/beBearAware

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