Hunters are encouraged to remain cautious of bear and practice good bear safety protocol while hunting in Montana.
After two recent attacks, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) organization is reminding all hunters to remain vigilant of grizzly bears in their area and are emphasizing their bear safety tips.
Two bowhunters were attacked by grizzly bears on two separate occasions over the past few weeks in Montana. One man was attacked while calling for elk, and another man was attacked by a sow with cubs after apparently stumbling upon them. Although neither hunter sustained major injuries, their incidents should remind folks of what can happen in grizzly country.
Andrea Jones of the Montana FWP said:
"Archery hunters have a greater risk than your typical hiker, because they are being quiet and they are sometimes covering up they're scent. And then in the effort to hide themselves from the elk or the deer and so those activities will sometimes lead to a surprise encounter, because the bear doesn't hear them or smell them. That's why we are telling the hunters to be extra careful at this time of year."
While there is no surefire way to avoid a bear attack, here are a few bear safety suggestions from the Montana FWP.
Bear safety tips:
- Always carry bear spray and know how to use it.
- Speak softly.
- Do not make eye contact.
- Do not attempt to frighten away or haze a grizzly near or feeding on a carcass.
- If a black or grizzly bear attacks, and if you have a firearm and know how to use it safely and effectively, Montana law allows you to kill a bear to defend yourself, another person or a domestic dog. If you do kill a bear in self-defense you must report it to FWP within 72 hours.
For the complete list, visit this link.
Although your chances of being attacked by a bear are extremely rare (1 in 2.1 million at Yellowstone National Park), these incidents do occur and seem to be occurring more frequently. Considering the growing population of hunters looking to hunt in "adventure" areas, combined with a growing number of grizzly bears in those areas, it's no wonder we are seeing more encounters like these. In this situation, especially in Montana, it makes sense that officials are considering managing their grizzly populations with hunting seasons.
If you happen to be venturing into grizzly country in the upcoming weeks, remember to try not to put yourself in a bad situation. Use the Montana FWP tips on bear safety to take a step in the right direction.