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UPDATE: Grizzly euthanized after hiker attacked near Conrad

Posted at 11:32 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 23:34:12-04

UPDATE - April 9, 2020 - 12:22 p.m.

State wildlife officials report that they have euthanized a grizzly bear involved in a Wednesday night attack on a hiker near Dupuyer.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) states in a news release that the hiker encountered a sow and her cub at close range and the sow attacked.

The bear bit the hiker in the thigh and the hiker -- who was was armed with a pistol -- then shot the bear.

The animal then retreated and the hiker returned to his home. The hiker was later met by emergency crews while en route to the hospital.

FWP says the bear likely attacked the hiker to protect the cub.

Wildlife managers searched for the bear late into the night on Wednesday. The animal was located Thursday morning with the help of a helicopter and ground crews.

FWP did not release any information on the status of the cub.

Although it is still early in the spring, FWP notes people recreating outdoors need to be prepared to encounter grizzly bears as they emerge from winter hibernation. This time of year, bears are hungry and looking for food, and often sows have cubs close at hand.

Additionally, with bears expanding their population and habitat, they can often be found in prairie settings, well away from the mountains. In Montana, people should be prepared to encounter grizzly bears anywhere in the western half of the state.

FWP offers the following advice for people recreating outdoors:

  • FWP strongly encourages people to carry bear spray.
  • Travel in groups of people.
  • Make noise to avoid surprising bears.
  • Let people know where you’re recreating.
  • Keep a close eye out for fresh bear sign, including scat, tracks and overturned logs and rocks.

Click here for more information on how to "Be Bear Aware" in Montana.

(first report: April 9, 2020 - 11:32 a.m.)

A man was attacked by a grizzly bear west of Conrad on Wednesday evening.

The Pondera County Sheriff’s Office received a report around 9 p.m. on April 8 for a hiker who was mauled near Dupuyer.

The man was able to fend off the bear and get medical help, but the extent of his injuries are not being released at this time.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) officials were actively searching for the bear as of Thursday morning. The grizzly may have been shot.

Dupuyer area residents are asked to stay safe and report any bear sighting to law enforcement.

FWP is asking people to take extra precautions now that bears are emerging from hibernation and venturing out looking for food.

Anyone recreating in bear country is highly encouraged to have bear spray.

Officials note the proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for reducing the severity of a bear attack and fending off threatening or attacking bears.

We will have more on this story as information becomes available.