3 hunters survive grizzly bear attacks in southwest Montana

Two injured bowhunters came into Shedhorn Sports in Ennis dressed in hospital gowns, looking for new clothing. (MTN News)

Three hunters were injured Monday in two separate grizzly bear attacks in Madison County.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) says both attacks occurred in the Cottonwood Creek area southwest of Ennis. The three hunters received moderate to severe injuries.

The first attack happened around 7:30 a.m. Two bowhunters were heading south from Cottonwood Creek when they were charged by a grizzly. The men were able to drive the bear away and get medical treatment in Ennis.

The two hunters came into Shedhorn Sports in Ennis dressed in hospital gowns, looking for new clothing. Shedhorn staff told MTN News the men said they were able to deploy bear spray, which ultimately drove the bear off.

The second attack happened in the same general area at about 6:30 p.m. as two adult male hunters were heading north toward Cottonwood Creek. One of the hunters was injured before they drove the bear away. The injured hunter was initially treated in Sheridan and later in Butte.

Details of the attacks are still unclear and both incidents are under investigation, according to FWP.

FWP reminds everyone to be cautious when in the field, as bears are active during the spring, summer and fall months. Click here to learn how to “Be Bear Aware” in the Montana backcountry.

Some recommended tips for avoiding negative encounters with bears include:

  • Be prepared and aware of your surroundings.
  • Carry and know how to use bear spray.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible.
  • Stay away from animal carcasses.
  • Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations.
  • If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.