Photo credit: Janko Ferlic

4th Hunter Attacked by Grizzly in Same Montana Mountain Range

The headcount rises for grizzly bear attacks in Montana’s Gravelly Mountains, as a hunter from Ohio was mauled Tuesday.

On September 16, a grizzly bear attacked three hunters in two separate incidents within a mile of one another in Montana.

On Tuesday, just 8 miles south of where the previous maulings happened, an Ohio hunter found himself face-to-face with a charging grizzly in blowdown timber. The hunter was between Eureka Basin Road and the Coal Creek drainage when the attack occurred.

The grizzly attacked the hunter at a very close range. Officials said the mauled hunter fired shots at the bear until it left the scene. Game wardens and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials were able to get to the site quickly, as they are still in the area investigating the three previous maulings. After the mauling, the hunter met up with his hunting party and received medical attention for nonlethal injuries.

Grizzly Sow and Cubs walking close together
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Officials are asking that hunters and campers stay out of the Coal Creek and Twin Springs areas while the investigation continues.

“As the geographic range of grizzly bears expands in Montana, density within that range is also increasing,” Morgan Jacobsen of Montana FWP said in a release.

“Management authority for grizzlies rests with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which works closely with FWP. As grizzly populations become more dense and widespread, conflicts with humans will likely increase.”

With elk bugling and rutting, big-game hunters flock to the field in September for Montana’s archery season. Bear attacks are rare. But this series of four attacks within a small area will grab the attention of hunters and hikers alike.

Bear Safety Tips

Montana FWP recommends the following to those recreating in grizzly country:

  • Be prepared and aware of your surroundings.
  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses.
  • Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations.
  • If you encounter a bear, stop. Back away slowly and leave the area.
Nicole Qualtieri

Based in Montana, Nicole Qualtieri is GearJunkie's Hunt + Fish Editor. She also serves as a Board Director for Orion the Hunters Insititute, a non-profit promoting fair chase and hunting ethics nationwide. A DIY hunter, she comes from a non-traditional hunting background and began hunting and fishing in her 30s. She's been a voice for hunting, fishing, and conservation since 2014, when she got started working on the television show MeatEater. She's an avid horsewoman, bird dog aficionado, snowboarder, hiker/backpacker, food nerd, and all-around outdoorswoman. Find her online at @nkqualtieri.