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Bear attacks and injures 73-year-old woman in Montana as husband takes action to rescue her

Hunter severely mauled by grizzly bear in Montana park
Hunter severely mauled by grizzly bear in Montana park 00:23

A 73-year-old woman was hospitalized after she was attacked by a bear west of Glacier National Park and just south of the U.S. Canadian border over the weekend, Montana wildlife officials said Monday. The attack comes just two days after a couple was killed by a grizzly bear in Canada and just weeks after a hunter was mauled by a grizzly in Montana.

The woman, her husband and a dog were in the Flathead National Forest Sunday afternoon when a bear emerged from thick brush and attacked her, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said. Her husband deployed bear spray, and the bear moved away from the woman, officials said.

The couple returned to their vehicle and drove to a location where they could call emergency services at about 3 p.m.

The woman was flown to the hospital in Kalispell for treatment. Wildlife officials had no information about the woman's medical condition on Monday. Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Dillon Tabish said. Her name has not been released.

The attack happened on the bank of Trail Creek, which is a few miles west of the North Fork Road and less than five miles south of the Canadian border. The area is closed while the investigation continues. Officials don't know if a grizzly bear or a black bear was involved.

The couple owns property in the area, Tabish said.

Stanton Lake - Great Bear Wilderness
Trees are reflected in Stanton Lake located in the Great Bear Wilderness just south of Glacier National Park, Oct 13, 2013.  Ken Cedeno/Corbis via Getty Images

The attack came two days after a grizzly bear attacked and killed a Canadian couple and their dog in Banff National Park in Alberta.

In September, two grizzly bears — a mother and a male cub — were captured and euthanized in Montana after "several conflicts with people."  Also last month, a hunter in Montana was severely mauled by a grizzly.

Preventing bear attacks

State wildlife officials on Monday reminded the public that "Montana is bear country." In the autumn, bears are active for longer periods because they eat more food to prepare for hibernation.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks offered these tips to avoid bear encounters:

  • Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
  • Make noise to alert bears to your presence and travel in groups.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
  • Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
  • If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.
  • If you are attacked by a bear and you are without a deterrent or the deterrent hasn't worked, stay face down on the ground, protecting your face and neck with your arms. Stay still until you're certain the bear has moved away.
  • Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
  • Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
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