Another Weekend, Another Round of Grizzly Encounters
October 9, 2007.
In a previous update, we documented the growing list of run-ins between hunters and grizzlies in the northern Rockies this year.
The list grew this weekend, with two additional encounters.
On October 6, a Montana bowhunter named Roman Morris had a run-in a sow and her three cubs north of Gardiner, Montana. When Morris was attacked, one of his companions intervened to run the bear off with a handgun. The mauling, which occurred within a mile of where bowhunter Dustin Flack was also mauled by a sow with three cubs on September 14, resulted in the second closing of Beattie Gulch within a 3 week period. It is unclear whether the same bears were involved in both encounters. Fox News provided a great interview with Morris.
Also on October 6, two bowhunters from Pennsylvania encountered a different sow and cub in the Tom Miner basin northwest of Gardiner. They used pepper spray to try to fend off the sow, but she continued to come at them. At this point, one of the hunters shot and killed the bear with a firearm.
Although the use of pepper spray failed to prevent the need for deadly force in this case, wildlife officials still recommend it as the best course of action during a grizzly encounter, and have reminded hunters to carry and know how to use pepper spray when hunting in areas with grizzlies.