HUNTING -- A resident elk hunter was mauled Sunday morning by a female grizzly after surprising the sow and her two cubs on the Rocky Mountain Front of northwestern Montana.
The man was with a group hunting private land on the south fork of Willow Creek west of Choteau, reports Bruce Auchly of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
"They had shot at elk, and about 9 a.m., he went into a creek bottom to see if there was a wounded elk when he surprised the grizzly at about 20 yards," Auchly said.
"The bear attack lasted about 30 seconds and left him with multiple injuries. As other hunters in his party approached the scene the bears left unharmed."
The man didn’t fire any shots at the bear, which ran off after the attack.
The hunter's name is being withheld until the investigation is complete.
The victim was transported by private vehicle to the Benefis Teton Medical Center in Choteau, then by Mercy flight to Benefis Hospital in Great Falls.
The incident brings the number of grizzly attacks on hunters in Montana this season to at least five. They include Washington bowhunter Neil Rico as well as a Montana man who survived two attacks by the same grizzly sow.