A biologist working in Centennial Valley had a surprise encounter while at a research site on Wednesday.
The unidentified U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist received serious bite wounds and was treated and released from a Rexburg, Idaho, hospital on Wednesday afternoon, according to FWS spokesman Joseph Szuszwalak. The incident occurred in the Red Rocks Lake National Wildlife Refuge about a mile west of Elk Lake in Beaverhead County. The biologist was monitoring a sage grouse research project.
Szuszwalak said the biologist heard a noise in the brush and saw two grizzly bears about 80 to 100 yards away. One bear stood up, while the other charged. The biologist deployed bear spray until the two bears ran away. Other FWS staff in the area came to help, and were able to escort the victim to medical treatment
Recreationalists and people who work outdoors are being warned by FWP to always be prepared to handle a bear encounter.
Precautions people should keep in mind when outside from FWP:
Be aware of your surroundings and look for bear sign.
Read signs at trailheads and stay on trails. Be especially careful around creeks and in areas with dense brush.
Carry bear spray. Know how to use it and be prepared to deploy it at a second’s notice.
Travel in groups whenever possible and make casual noise, which can help alert bears to your presence.
Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
Follow U.S. Forest Service (USFS) food storage orders, which have been in effect for public lands in Montana since March 1.
If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.