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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Bear spray nozzle fails, but still helps elk hunter deter charging grizzly

Bear spray canister: recommended equipment for recreating in bear country. (Colin Mulvany)
Bear spray canister: recommended equipment for recreating in bear country. (Colin Mulvany)

HUNTING -- Perhaps the potential for repelling a grizzly attack with a can of bear spray hadn't been fully explored, until this....

An elk hunter near Livingston, Montana, was able to deploy bear spray at a bear that had charged and had him on the ground, but the nozzle of the spray didn't work properly in his frenzy so he ended up throwing the canister at the bear, according to initial reports. The hunter was bit on his hand and wrist, but he’s OK, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park Warden Sergeant Matt Wemple told the Associated Press.

Wemple said the man was tracking an elk on Saturday in the Rock Creek-Tom Miner area after shooting it the day prior. He reported getting separated from his hunting party before the bear charged him from about 30 yards away and knocked it him to the ground.

The bear probably claimed the hunter’s kill in the area, Wemple said.

Read more details on the story obtained in this interview with the hunter by Brett French of the Billings Gazette.  In the interview, the hunter told French that the bear had bit him and he was on the ground when he deployed the spray, getting himself and everything around him. That's when the bear left.

Another Montana grizzly attack on Saturday involved a pheasant hunter near Choteau who killed a charging grizzly with his 12-gauge shotgun.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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