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Bear bites camper in Gallatin County

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 20, 2021

Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) reports that a camper was bitten by a bear at Mystic Lake on Saturday.

According to a news release, the camper was too injured to hike out, but made contact with a runner who was able to find cell service and call 911.

SAR volunteers, deputies, paramedics, and LifeFlight Network personnel responded, and LifeFlight located the camper from the air not far from Mystic Lake.

The camper was treated on-site and transferred via LifeFlight to Bozeman Deaconness Hospital.

The incident led to an emergency closure of the Sourdough Trail on Saturday until further notice.

The news release did not specify what kind of bear attacked the camper, nor the camper's current condition.

We will update you with any further information we receive.

Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer reminds campers to make sure food is locked away, or in a container that can't be opened by wildlife, as there have been several recent bear sightings in and around Gallatin County.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks offer up several tips on how to be "Bear Aware" while recreating in Montana including the following:

  • Bear spray is a highly effective, non-lethal bear deterrent. Carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Never feed wildlife, especially bears. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose a threat to human safety. And it is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
  • Know your bears. It is important to know the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, whether you are hunting or hiking.
  • Always keep a safe distance from wildlife. Never intentionally get close to a bear.
  • A properly constructed electrified fence is both safe for people, livestock and pets, and has proven effective at deterring bears from human-related resources such as beehives, garbage or small livestock.
  • Follow the best practices listed below.

Best practices for safely exploring the outdoors:

  • Stay alert and look for bear activity, especially where visibility or hearing is limited (woods, bushy areas, streams).
  • Travel in a group and keep members together (especially kids).
  • Make noise whenever possible to avoid surprising a bear, especially where visibility or hearing is limited.
  • Carry bear spray close at hand and know how to use it.
  • Avoid traveling at night, dawn or dusk.
  • Avoid carcass sites and scavenger concentrations.