Teenage Shed Hunter Survives Bear Attack

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A bear attacked a 17-year-old boy about 30 miles south of Ennis, Montana. He survived with relatively minor injuries.

According to the teen, he was looking for shed antlers walking down a hill in the afternoon when he heard a “thump” behind him. He turned around to see a bear charging at him. The teen was carrying bear spray, but he was unable to deploy it immediately because of the bear’s rapid approach. The bear pushed him up against a tree and held him there momentarily. When the bear let go, the teen fell over and attempted to crawl between two trees and protect his head and vitals. The bear then pinned him face-down on the ground. The teen, who was wearing a hoodie and a backpack, said he was able to reach over his shoulder and spray the bear with bear spray, and the bear left.

He then began walking out and made radio contact with his family. Medical personnel treated him for his injuries at Madison Valley Medical Center and later released him.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say, based on the teen’s description of the bear’s behavior, the bear was mostly likely a grizzly. FWP has notified people who live in the area of the attack. The area has very limited public access and does not get many visitors.

The bear’s behavior in this incident appears to be typical of surprise close encounters. FWP will continue to monitor the area, which is well within occupied bear habitat. The investigation is ongoing, but no further management action is being taken at this time.

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)