Hunter injured by grizzly bear in Montana not far from where 3 were attacked days ago

The hunter drove off the bear and survived. Officials are not sure if the same animal has been involved in all three attacks.
Image: Gravelly Range in southwest Montana's Rocky Mountains.
Gravelly Range in southwest Montana's Rocky Mountains.Samson1976 / Getty Images/iStockphoto file

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By Phil Helsel

A hunter in Montana was injured in a grizzly bear attack this week, not far from where three others were injured days ago in two separate attacks, wildlife officials said.

The Ohio hunter, who has not been publically identified, survived Tuesday’s attack in the western Gravelly Mountains, which happened eight miles south of the site of last week's attacks.

The hunter in the most recent attack was prepared to defend himself, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said in a statement Wednesday. He fired multiple shots at the bear after being attacked while walking through blown-down timber, the officials said.

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The hunter fired at the bear until it left. He then rejoined other members of his hunting party and was able to get medical attention, the department said. The extent of his injuries has not been released.

Further details of Tuesday’s attack were unclear, the department said Wednesday.

It is not clear if the same animal is responsible for all three attacks, or if it is normal bear behavior in a populated area, NBC Montana reported.

The first two attacks occurred Sept. 16, the department has said. Everyone in those attacks survived.

Grizzly bears are most active in the fall as they try to pack on the pounds for winter hibernation. It's also the time when many hunters are in the field, and most grizzly bear attacks on people occur in "surprise close encounters," the wildlife department said Wednesday.

"The Gravelly is an area that they've kind of grown into, so their geographic distribution is growing and their density within that area is also growing," Morgan Jacobsen, a spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, told NBC Montana.

People are urged to be cautious and aware of their surroundings in bear country, to carry bear spray and travel in groups.