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A bow hunter was mauled by a grizzly bear Friday, just three and a half miles from where a similar attack occurred less than a week earlier.

Kim Wunderlich, 49, of Kalispell, was hunting with a partner when they surprised a female grizzly with two cubs in the Cascade Creek area of the southern Gravelly Mountains.

The bear knocked Wunderlich down, bit him once in the inner-thigh and then left the area with her cubs, according to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks incident report. The hunter was taken to the hospital in Dillon and treated and released for the bite wound.

FWP says there is "no direct evidence that leads us to believe that this is the same bear associated with the other mauling."

Wunderlich did not return a call placed to his home in Kalispell.

Region 3 Chief Warden Sam Sheppard said in the report that FWP has taken several steps to warn people of the dangers of bow hunting in griz country. Signs have been posted in the area of the attacks and FWP and Forest Service employees have contacted hunters personally, FWP says.

In an interview, Sheppard said bears have likely been attracted to the area because elk hunters have had success there and left gut piles behind.

"It's kind of a little cycle. You have a fair number of elk, get some elk hunters, elk hunters have some success and put some carcasses on the ground, with carcasses on the ground, you have bears," he said.

While FWP and the Forest Service have in the past closed areas to hunters because of bear danger, Sheppard said a closure is not being considered for this area because it is a broad area.

"We'd potentially have to close 20 sections," he said. "There are bears, grizzly bears, in Southwest Montana and we just have to figure out how to safely hunt in those areas where those things overlap."

The agency recommends hunters carry pepper spray and hunt with a friend.

Daniel Person can be reached at dperson@dailychronicle.com or 582-2665.

 

 

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