Hunters kill bear after surprising her and cub, officials say. One of them is shot too

A grizzly bear was shot dead after she charged at two men who officials said surprised her and her cub in northwest Montana, according to state wildlife officials.

The men were out scouting for the upcoming hunting season Aug. 26 when they came within 15 feet of the mama grizzly and her cub in a dense section of the Flathead National Forest, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said in an Aug. 28 news release.

The bear charged at them, and both men shot and killed her, officials said. One of the men also got shot in his back shoulder during the scuffle, according to Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

He was treated for the gunshot wound at a hospital, officials said.

Game wardens and officials with the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team said the bear was acting defensively “in the surprise, close encounter with the two men.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then confirmed “it was a self-defense situation.” The 25-year-old bear had been tagged in 2009 for wildlife officials to monitor her, and she didn’t have a history of conflict, officials said.

The state wildlife agency is still searching for the cub at the site where its mother was killed, officials said.

“Hunting in places that have or may have grizzly bears — which includes northwest Montana — requires special precautions,” officials said.

Officials said hunters should:

  • Carry bear spray, and have it out and ready to use at the first sight of a bear.

  • Look out for signs of bears and be especially careful around creeks and areas with less visibility or where sounds you make won’t carry as well.

  • Hunt in groups and make noise to let bears know you’re in the area.

  • Keep in mind that elk calls and “cover scents” — which cut down on the smell of humans — can attract bears.

  • Bring the right equipment and the proper amount of people you’ll need to be able to field dress successfully hunted game and remove the meat from the area as quickly as possible.

  • Hang any meat you have to leave behind at least 10 feet off the ground and 150 yards from the gut pile. Make sure it’s viewable from at least 200 yards away.

  • When you come back for the remaining meat, examine it for any signs of disturbance using binoculars. If it has been touched or if a bear is in the area, leave and call Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

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