Grizzly bear protecting her cub is shot after biting hiker, Montana officials say

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How to handle bear encounters

Heading out on a hike? An Idaho Fish and Game officials provides tips for identifying black and grizzly bears and what to do when you encounter each. 

A grizzly bear trying to protect her cub attacked a hiker Wednesday, Montana wildlife officials say.

A man came face-to-face with a female grizzly bear and her cub while on a hike, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The grizzly bear attacked and bit the hiker’s thigh.

The hiker then shot and injured the bear with a pistol, officials say. The hiker was able to walk back to his house near Dupuyer and go to a hospital.

“The bear’s behavior indicated it attacked to protect her cub from a perceived threat posed by the hiker,” wildlife officials say.

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Officials searched for the bear into the night and began again the next morning with a helicopter and ground crews. Officials euthanized the bear once it was found, according to Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The cub was not with the bear when it was found, according to the Great Falls Tribune. Greg Lemon, a spokesperson for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the news outlet that he did not know what the cub’s chances for survival were.

“Though it is still early in the spring, people recreating outdoors in Montana need to be prepared to encounter grizzly bears as they emerge from winter hibernation,” officials said. “This time of year, bears are hungry and looking for food, and often sows have cubs close at hand. Also, with bears expanding their population and habitat, they can often be found in prairie settings, well away from the mountains.”

A grizzly bear (not the one pictured) attacked a Montana hiker Wednesday, officials say. AP

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