Grizzly bear

A grizzly bear is seen in this photo from the Idaho State Journal.

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Two separate grizzly bear encounters were reported over the weekend, one in the Tom Miner Basin north of Gardiner and one near Hebgen Lake.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a news release that hunters encountered the bears and were injured. Both were treated at local hospitals and released.

On Sunday morning, a man bow hunting for elk in the Tom Miner Basin was mauled. Members of his hunting party believe the bear was a female grizzly with cubs. The man had bite injuries.

On Saturday afternoon, a hunter was calling for elk in the Cabin Creek area north of Hebgen Lake when he encountered the bear. FWP's release said the bear was presumed to be a grizzly. The man's injuries were minor.

Jason Brey, the Hebgen Lake district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, said the bear didn't pose a public safety risk, and that it is not uncommon for people to run into the large carnivores in that area.

"There's a lot of grizzly bears out there," Brey said.

He added that the incident is the first of its kind in the area so far this year.  

FWP said in its release that bears may be attracted to places where deer or elk have been recently taken, and that elk bugling or cow calling could bring in bears. 

FWP also said hunters should be aware of the risks of hunting in bear country and take precautions to avoid them. The agency's release said hunters should look for warning signs at trailheads, look for movement in brushy areas from a distance and look for scat, tracks or tree scratches. 

FWP urges hunters to carry bear spray, to not hunt alone and to never try to chase a bear away.

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Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1. 

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