Hunting Grizzlies

In this Sept. 25, 2013 file photo, a grizzly bear cub searches for fallen fruit beneath an apple tree a few miles from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner.

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A grizzly bear mauled an employee working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Centennial Valley on Wednesday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced the incident in a news release Friday. The employee, a biologist, is expected to recover fully despite serious bite wounds.

The biologist was working on a sage grouse monitoring project on Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, when they spotted two grizzly bears in the sagebrush around 100 yards away, according to the release.

One of the bears charged the biologist, who used bear spray as the bear attacked. Eventually, both bears ran away, the release says.

After receiving initial medical attention, the biologist was taken to Rexburg, Idaho, for further medical treatment. The individual was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Joseph Szuszwalak, a spokesperson for the USFWS, said the individual is now recovering at home, despite suffering serious bite injuries.

The incident is still being investigated by Idaho Fish and Game and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Officials guess the bears might have been younger siblings, based on the biologist’s report.

Szuszwalak said officials closed the area off to USFWS staff and the public, putting the sage grouse project on hold. The closure shouldn’t be a problem because the area is remote, he said.

A woman was injured by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park last Wednesday after hiking alone on a trail near Old Faithful. She encountered two bears, and one of which knocked her down. Her injuries were minor, and she did not accept medical attention following the incident.

To prevent and prepare for bear attacks, the officials recommend that people know their surroundings, stay on established trails, exercise caution near creeks and dense brush, carry bear spray and travel in groups.

The agency also recommends that those recreating in ways that are purposefully quiet or fast moving, like mountain biking or trail running, exercise extreme caution in bear country.

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Helena Dore can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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