Grizzly bear attacks man hunting elk near Gardiner

Posted at 4:30 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 22:44:22-04

BOZEMAN – On Saturday, Bob Legasa of Idaho was attacked by a sow grizzly bear while hunting in Beattie Gulch near Gardiner and is currently recovering in Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) said the bear has no past behavioral issues and is not currently considered a problem bear.

FWP works closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine what to do with bear incidents like this attack because they are listed as threatened on the Endangered Species List. FWP does not plan to trap the bear.

“We have a survey going on, a flight coming up in the next few days, and we’ll be looking into those areas to see if there’s anything unusual,” FWP Regional Supervisor Mark Deleray said. “The circumstances of this attack were relatively normal behavior for a female grizzly and a cub. Unfortunately, the hunter startled the bear from a close distance and this is the behavior and response we would expect from a bear.”

Deleray added that with general hunting season opening this weekend, hunters should always carry bear spray with them and never hunt alone.

Reporting by by Emma Hamilton for MTN News

An Idaho man bow hunting in Beattie Gulch was attacked by a grizzly bear on Saturday and is recovering in the hospital in Bozeman.

In a Facebook post, Bob Legasa of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho said he and his hunting partner were approaching some elk when they surprised a sow grizzly and her cub about 12 yards away.

“Due to the closeness (12 yards) I did not have time to react besides getting into a defensive mode/stance,” Legasa said on Facebook. “And before I could even reach for my bear spray she was at full charge.”

Legasa said as the grizzly attacked him, his hunting partner was able to retrieve his bear spray and hit the sow with one shot that initially stopped her. The grizzly then reared up and came back towards Legasa’s partner as he hit her with another blast, causing the sow and her cub to retreat.

“My arm is broken in two spots where she grabbed on with her mouth and I have a nice couple of scratches on my face where she got me with her claws,” Legasa said of his injuries.

He initially received emergency room treatment in Livingston before being transferred to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital for surgery.

“Because of the bear bite and fractured bones they were afraid of infection so they put me in an ambulance and sent me to Bozeman where they needed to do surgery to clean out the wound,” said Legasa.

At the end of his post describing the encounter, Legasa gave high praise to the medical staff treating him, as well as his hunting partner:

Huge shout out for my hunting partner Greg…his quick response was able to minimize the damage and severity of this attack….Huge shout out to the Livingston ER room and the Bozeman hospital and surgeons, nurses, etc.

Legasa told MTN News in a phone interview from Bozeman Health that he is due for further surgery this week. He added that he has been hunting at Beattie Gulch for ten years, and always carries a handgun and bear spray due to the grizzly population in the area.