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Bear incident reported

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Ninepipes - A pheasant hunter was injured Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 11, when a grizzly bear and her cubs encountered the hunter in thick brush off Olsen Road south of Ninepipe Reservoir.

Tribal Wildlife Bear Biologists, Tribal Conservation Officers and a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Conservation Officer responded to a call.

“On behalf of the entire Division I want to express my concern about the incident and wish the hunter who was injured a full and speedy recovery,” said Tom McDonald, Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation said.

Stacy Courville, Tribal Bear Biologist, reports that the encounter is currently under investigation. Courville reminds pheasant hunters that the entire Mission Valley is bear habitat — home to both black and grizzly bears.

One of the best ways to ensure safety is to travel in a group of three or more people and make noise. Make loud noise especially when in dense brush or near running water where surprise encounters are likely to take place. Proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best effective method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved. Anyone recreating in bear country is highly encouraged to carry bear spray. The bear spray should be readily accessible and the user should have knowledge about how to use it.

Though human bear encounters are very rare, hunters are reminded that bears are active this time of year so be prepared for wildlife encounters.

Residents and hunters of the Ninepipe area should report any unusual bear activity to Tribal Conservation Officers at 406-675-4700 as soon as possible.

Editor’s note: No other information regarding the condition of the hunter is available at this time. Additional information will be published as it becomes available.

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