On the same day and in the same area, three hunters in Montana were injured in two separate attacks on grizzly bears, state wildlife officials said.
Officials in Montana this week did not determine if the same animal was involved in either attack, the Gravelly Mountains southwest of Bozeman. The three hunters suffered injuries that were described as moderate to severe.
Two male hunters were indicted on Monday at 7:30 am by a grizzly before they were able to drive the animal away.
Hours later, a third hunter was injured by a bear in the same area when the animal attacked around 6:30 pm. In this case, a second hunter was unharmed before the couple expelled the bear.
Hunters were warned to avoid the area.
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, both men injured in the morning's attack sought treatment in Ennis.
The couple then went to a sports shop to buy new clothes, and told an employee there that the bear was about two meters away from them and was probably asleep when they saw him Terrified, the Shedhorn Sports worker shared with NBC Montana.
"They said he was alert and focused on them before they even had a chance to grab a gun or do anything that I think is important for people to know." Employee Terri James told NBC Montana, "The bear was on one of the men and the other could get his bear spray," James told the broadcaster. "And he sprayed the bear, and that made the bear go."
The men seemed to be in a good mood, James said.
A Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman told the Bozeman Chronicle newspaper that the attacks served as a good reminder that hunters should avoid going out on their own.
"The prevalent lesson is that hunting with a partner can save your life in many cases," Morgan Jacobsen told the newspaper.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is asking people to be cautious, as bears are active at this time of year, and recommend traveling in groups, not just carrying bear spray, but also dealing with it to be familiar. When a bear is encountered, people are asked to retire and slowly leave the area.