Big Sky, Mont. – Portions of the Custer Gallatin National Forest in southwestern Montana have been closed after a hunter was fatally mauled by a grizzly bear.
According to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the hunter was tracking a deer Friday when the bear attacked. Members of the hunting team called 911 at about 1:45 a.m., and emergency crews used a helicopter ambulance to transport the hunter to a nearby hospital, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
The attack occurred south of Big Sky, a popular resort area about 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) north of Yellowstone National Park. The US Forest Service has implemented an emergency closure in the area near the attack while authorities search for the bear, which they said was shot.
USA – March 03: Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), Ursidae, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. (Photo by D’Agostini/Getty Images)
Grizzly bears are protected under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states. The Montana Department of Fish and Game warned in a press release issued Friday that encounters between grizzlies and humans are increasing as Montana’s bear population continues to grow more widely.
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“This time of year is when bears are active for longer periods as they consume more food in preparation for hibernation. This time overlaps with hunting season and other fall recreational activities,” the agency said.
The attack comes less than a week after authorities killed another grizzly after it broke into a home near West Yellowstone over the weekend. That grizzly fatally mauled a woman on a forest trail west of Yellowstone National Park in July and also attacked a man in Idaho three years ago.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a statement that early on Sept. 2, a homeowner reported that a bear with a cub had broken a kitchen window and taken a container of dog food.
Later that day, agency staff captured the cub and shot the 10-year-old female grizzly with approval from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as grizzly bears are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Genetic analysis and other identifying factors confirmed that the slain bear was involved in the fatal July 22 attack on former Kansas teacher Amy Adamson, 48, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from West Yellowstone. Attempts to trap the bear at that time failed.
The bear, which was captured for research in 2017, was involved in an attack in Idaho that injured a man near Henrys Lake State Park in 2020. The park is 16 miles (26 km) by road from West Yellowstone