Earlier this week, a man was hunting upland birds along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front when a grizzly bear charged him from roughly 15 feet away. According to a press release issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), the bird hunter escaped the harrowing encounter without injury after firing his shotgun multiple times, injuring the bear and causing it to run away.
The encounter took place on the morning of Tuesday, September 12. The man was walking along a shelter belt on private land near the Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area when the bear charged. Based on evidence collected at the scene, FWP believes the now-wounded grizzly is an adult male, but the incident is still under investigation, the state agency said in its press release.
“FWP bear management and law enforcement staff searched for the bear on foot and using drones on Tuesday and continued their search today with a helicopter, thoroughly covering more than 4 square miles,” the September 13 press release states. “Although they found evidence that it was wounded, they have been unable to locate the bear and believe that it is likely it has left the immediate area.”
The wounded grizzly has created a potentially dangerous situation for people in the area. “Hunters and nearby residents are still advised to be cautious as the bear is likely to seek hiding cover in and around abandoned buildings and in areas of thick brush and heavy cover,” FWP said. “FWP is also placing signs around the area advising hunters of the incident and to be vigilant for bears.”
Last October, a grizzly bear attacked pheasant hunter in a creek bottom east of Choteau, Montana, not far from the scene of Tuesday’s attack. The hunter shot and wounded that bear with both his shotgun and a sidearm, and it as later euthanized by FWP agents.
On Saturday, September 9, a grizzly bear mauled a man in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest of southwest Montana while he was blood-trailing a mule deer through thick brush. Rudy Noorlander lost his lower jaw during that attack. He is hospitalized in Bozeman in stable but critical condition. His family is accepting medical donations via Go-Fund Me.