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Hunter attacked by grizzly bear NW of Choteau - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Hunter attacked by grizzly bear NW of Choteau

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GREAT FALLS -

A grizzly bear seriously mauled a bowhunter yesterday morning 20 miles northwest of Choteau on the Rocky Mountain Front.

According to Montana FWP bear management specialist Mike Madel says the incident happened about 8:20 Saturday morning.

Madel said the hunter was stalking elk in a dense willow shrub field, when he stumbled upon the grizzly as it was bedded down. 

The bear charged the man and mauled him briefly. 

The hunter fought the bear and managed to keep a hold on his bow to use as a shield.

He received severe lacerations to his head, arm,and legs.

After the attack the hunter walked 200 to 300 yards from the site of the attack to phone his brother, who dropped him off. 

Madel says when he spoke to the hunter in Choteau, he seemed in pretty good spirits. 

The two raced to the hospital in Choteau, and he was then transported to Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls.

Madel does believe if the hunter and his brother had not headed to Choteau quickly as they did, the hunter would have had severe blood loss.

The hunter also told Madel that he was within about 4 feet of the bear when he surprised it.

Madel said the incident is still under investigation but says it was difficult searching the area due to wind, rain and snow. 

The bear has not been found.

Madel added that the hunter did nothing wrong, since he believes the bear only acted in self-defense.

It is believed that because of the windy and rainy weather, it was likely the bear did not actually detect the hunter.

Madel believes the bear to be a lone medium-sized bear. 

He said based on tracks, he estimates the bear to be 200 to 300 pounds, and when he went investigating with some game wardens, they found lots of bear tracks and scats, but were not able to locate the site of the attack. 

Madel could not find evidence of the bear and believes it left the area.

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