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Idaho Bowhunter Survived Recent Grizzly Bear Attack in Montana -- Hunters Cautioned to be Aware of Bears in MT and WY

Submitted by:  Backcountry Press Outdoor News 
Posted on: 10/19/18
News # -11918

Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of TBC Press
Legasa’s attack is the most recent in a string of bear/human incidents in Wyoming and Montana, several of which have involved hunters who are looking for mule deer or elk.

Montana, bear country can be anywhere in the western half of the state and sometimes beyond. In recent years, grizzly bears have shown up in prairie habitats east of the Rocky Mountain Front. 

An attack last month in Wyoming killed hunting guide Mark Uptain. Mark Uptain was found dead after he and a client were attacked by a grizzly bear on Friday, Sept. 14 while field-dressing an elk in the Teton Wilderness near Terrace Mountain.

Another hunter who was bowhunting on Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation reported killing a grizzly after it had attacked him.

Wyoming authorities are encouraging hunters in Sweetwater County to be “bear aware” as they venture north into grizzly country. The warning comes in light of two recent bear attacks. One in Wyoming northwest of Dubois and the other in southwestern Montana.

Montana authorities caution pheasant hunters to be aware of grizzly's. Bird hunters should understand they could be in close proximity to bears even if they’re miles away from the Rocky Mountain Front. Hunters should be particularly careful near thick patches of brush and even more so in those thickets along canals and creeks. Grizzlies have even been known to bed in tall grass or cattails but prefer very thick shrubs. Keep a watchful eye on hunting dogs as they may stir-up a grizzly sleeping in its day bed.

If you encounter a grizzly bear while hunting, do NOT run or yell. Running and yelling may provoke an attack. Instead, if you encounter a grizzly bear, speak calmly and back away slowly while preparing whatever form of defense you have. Leave the area immediately.

Most grizzly bear attacks occur during surprise encounters where the grizzly becomes startled and attacks out of self-defense. Avoiding a surprise encounter is the best way to prevent a grizzly bear attack.

Pheasant season starts Oct. 6 and hunters in grizzly bear country should be prepared for an encounter by carrying bear spray and being ready to use it, hunting with a partner, and by always letting someone know where you’ll be. Additionally, just like in the mountains, hunters should look for bear sign and avoid areas where the sign is fresh. If possible, make plenty of noise in areas where visibility is limited, even in areas where you wouldn't expect bears.

Grizzly bears are currently listed on the Endangered Species List in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which includes the Rocky Mountain Front and points further east. Though the population in the NCDE has reached recovery goals, the federal delisting process for the population is just getting underway.

While federal grizzly protections remain, human encounters will continue to increase.

Stay safe out there!

Image is a screenshot from the YouTube video -- Article courtsey of Outdoorhub, Montana fish & game and Wyoming fish & game

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Despite the scary encounter, Bob remains in high spirits, giving a huge shout out to his partner and hunting guide, Greg Gibson, in a Facebook post recounting the incident. That Facebook post has since been deleted.

All in all, it sounds like Bob was very fortunate, and especially lucky to have a hunting partner who was able to keep his head straight during chaos.

Idaho Bowhunter Survived Recent Grizzly Bear Attack in Montana
Authorities from both Wyoming & Montana are warning hunters to be aware of bears.

Recently, an Idaho bowhunter survived a grizzly attack in Montana near Yellowstone National Park after unintentionally startling a sow and her cub. 

The bear sunk its teeth into his arm breaking it in two places and left a gnarly claw mark near his eye, but he survived, and has his his hunting partner to thank for driving the animal away.

Bob Legasa, 57, was mauled by the grizzly in the Gallatin National Forest, making him at least the seventh bear attack since May in the Northern Rocky Mountains.