17-Year-Old Survives Montana Bear Attack

A shed-hunting teen encountered a bear near his family's cabin, and was released from the hospital.

A teenager escaped a bear attack near Ennis, Montana with only a few minor scratches, says Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The incident happened at 2 p.m. in Wolf Creek where the teen, who says he was shed hunting, heard a "thump" from behind. He turned to see a bear charging him, and he was unable to deploy the bear spray he was carrying with him.

Montana wildlife officials said is was likely a grizzly, based on details shared by the young man. The bear charged and pushed him up against a tree, and held him there for a moment. The teen was released by the bear, fell to the ground, and tried to move on his hands and knees between two trees to protect himself.

The bear then pinned him face down, and according to the teen, he was able to reach around over his shoulder and spray the bear. It left after being hit by the bear spray.

The young man made radio contact with his family, then was treated for his injuries at Madison Valley Medical Center and later released.

Montana FWP was notified of the attack at 3:45 p.m.

The area, which isn't easy to get to and sees little visitors, is about 30 miles south of Ennis on the east side of the Madison Valley.

Here's a bit more from the FWP:

The bear's behavior in this incident appears to be typical of surprise close encounters. FWP will continue to monitor the area, which is well within occupied bear habitat. The investigation is ongoing, but no further management action is being taken at this time.

The young man is lucky, and Montana officials remind everyone to be bear aware in known bear country and out. A bear charge can happen at any time.

We'll add that, especially this time of year when you're returning to parts of wild areas unvisited during the winter months, it can be particularly beneficial to follow all the known best practices. Stay away from animal carcasses, since grizzly bears are known to scavenge when and where they can.

Montana is home to both American black bears and grizzlies, and bear safety has (and always will be) an important outdoor knowledge set to have in the state.