Article published in the Livingston Enterprise:

Grizzly bear charges hiker in Mill Creek area

A hiker was treated for minor injuries Thursday afternoon after encountering a Grizzly sow and cubs in the Mill Creek area.

A surprised mother grizzly charged the man three times, but he was able to avoid an attack by discharging bear spray at close range each time she charged, said Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones Friday.

He ran out of bear spray after the third charge but was able to get himself to a safe place in a rock outcropping by that time, Jones said.

When the bear could not reach him, she and her cubs went away, she said. 

The man was never touched by the bear — his injuries were sustained on the rocks in his attempt to get to a safe place, she said.

He was lucky, but he was also smart, Jones said, because he was carrying bear spray and used it successfully.

“The message is the same as always: It’s always important to carry bear spray. It is effective,” Jones said.

 An FWP grizzly bear specialist and technician returned to the area Friday morning to investigate the scene of the encounter.

“It looks like it’s just a case of a surprised bear,” Jones said.

“Presumably, she reacted because she had cubs,” she added

The hiker reported to officials that he had been running with his dog at about 8,000 feet Thursday afternoon when he startled the sow and cubs, who were sleeping at the time, Jones said.

Hikers are encouraged to carry bear spray and make noise while hiking in the area. Running from bears is highly discouraged.

The sow initially ran away, but she turned around and reacted after she realized her cubs were in between her and the hiker, according to the report he told officials.

 “This is a common response from a surprised bear, especially a bear with cubs,” Jones said.

The specific location of the encounter was not available before press time Friday.

Jones said she was not aware of the identity of the hiker, nor authorized to release his name Friday morning.

Livingston HealthCare informed the Park County Dispatch Center that the hiker received medical attention after the encounter Thursday, Undersheriff Scott Hamilton said Friday.

Jones advises the public to avoid getting attacked by a bear by carrying one, if not two, cans of bear spray when hiking in the wilderness. 

Make noise so bears can hear you and never run from the animals, she said.