Image courtesy of Pixabay / MGN

KALISPELL- Crews responded to a bear attack on timberland near Smith Lake north of Whitefish Lake.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1 Wildlife Human Attack Response Team responded Saturday morning.

A report was received of a father and son from the Flathead Valley hunting along a gated road when a grizzly bear charged out of a thickly wooded area along the road at a very close range.

The two sustained significant injuries before they were able to shoot and kill the bear.

The ALERT Air Ambulance transported the individuals to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment. 

The area where the incident occurred is in the King Creek drainage along the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation land and private timberland according to FWP.

The Wildlife Human Attack Response Team conducted the investigation and a deer carcass was cached in the thick timber along the edge of the road adjacent to where the attack occurred. 

FWP inspected the dead bear and identified it as an adult female estimated to be nearly 20 years old. 

It did not have any history of conflict or other management actions. It is believed to have at least one offspring at the time of the incident. 

FWP set up cameras in the area to help identify the potential offspring. 

No management action is planned at this time and there are no formal closures in the area. 

“Based on the evidence gathered at the scene and interviews with the victims, we believe this was a surprise encounter involving an adult female grizzly bear defending a food source and her offspring,” FWP Regional Game Warden Captain Lee Anderson said. 

Residents are encouraged to report bear activity as soon as possible; In northwest Montana, you can report grizzly bear activity in the greater Flathead Valley by calling FWP bear management specialists at (406) 250-1265. 

To report black bear and mountain lion activity in the greater Flathead Valley, call (406) 250-0062). 

To report bear activity in the Cabinet-Yaak area, call (406) 291-1320