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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks talks about Big Sky bear attack

Posted at 5:48 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 10:12:13-04

In Montana, specifically West of Billings, is bear country and on Monday in Big Sky there was a bear attack in the Spanish Peaks area.

“Fortunately this person was able to walk back to the road and get help from motorists, was able to get medical treatment," said Morgan Jacobsen, spokesperson for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "(He) was eventually flown to Billings where he remains in critical but stable condition for (his) injuries."

On Monday, a male in his 60’s was riding his bike on a now closed private trail when he ran into the grizzly bear.

“A lot of this investigation is still ongoing," said Jacobsen. "There’s a lot we don’t know. We do know this mountain biker was alone at the time of the attack and fortunately they did survive.”

They believe the man came around a turn with a blindspot when he ran into the bear and a bear reacting defensive in nature when surprised is typical.

“Sometimes the nature of activities that are deliberately fast moving, or quiet, such as hunting or mountain biking or trail running, puts recreationists at an increased risk for surprising a bear,” Jacobsen said.

Interactions between people and wildlife is not uncommon and being tucked away due to COVID-19 has not increased the presence of animals in certain areas.

“Interactions between people and wildlife is on the rise because we do have a growing population," said Jacobsen. "Especially, in Gallatin County."

Lastly, there are a few things to remember when you're doing outdoor activities

“Staying on trails is a big thing, that does a lot of good for wildlife habitat," Jacobsen said. “It’s super important to keep bear spray, travel in groups wherever possible and just be aware of your surroundings.