WHITEFISH – A grizzly bear attacked after a man and his daughter hiking on a road 3½ miles northeast of Whitefish unknowingly walked between the sow and her two cubs Sunday.
The grizzly charged past the daughter, who was leading two dogs on leashes, and attacked her father.
The incident occurred on F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber property between Wisconsin Avenue and Haskill Basin Road, according to John Fraley, a spokesman for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The man was able to deploy bear spray during the attack, which sent the grizzly running away, but not before he suffered bites to the head, shoulder and wrist. He was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, Fraley said.
FWP investigators found a deer carcass 35 yards off the road that the bears had been feeding on.
The grizzly charged out of the forest from one side of the road, and the cubs crossed the road from the other side during the attack.
The sow first charged the daughter and dogs, but then attacked the man.
FWP and F.H. Stoltze posted signs closing the area where the attack occurred, Fraley said, which includes Stoltze land in Haskill Basin, west of Haskill Creek Road, and Haskill Basin Road east to Wisconsin Avenue.
FWP removed the deer carcass Monday morning and set up trail cameras to monitor the site and area.
The agency is not presently trying to trap the bears, Fraley said, and monitoring the trail cameras will determine future FWP actions.
FWP’s Wildlife Human Attack Response Team, made up of wardens and biologists, is investigating, and the agency has consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s grizzly bear coordinator in planning its courses of action.