News & Features

Update on Bear Attack in Cabinet Mountains South of Libby

Woman was attacked Thursday in a surprise defensive encounter

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials on Friday released new information about a bear attack that occurred May 17 in a remote section of the Cabinet Mountains south of Libby.

On Thursday morning , an adult woman sustained serious injuries in a surprise defensive encounter involving a bear. The incident occurred in the Poorman Creek area.

The victim reported the incident at approximately 11 a.m. She was transported via ambulance to an area along U.S. Highway 2 where ALERT Air Ambulance arrived and transported her to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

The victim is a field assistant working on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear project.

The type of bear involved in the conflict remains unknown at this time. Trace evidence collected at the scene is being submitted for analysis.

The FWP Region 1 Wildlife Human Attack Response Team was dispatched to the area immediately upon notification.

Dillon Tabish, FWP’s regional information and education program manager, said at this point in the investigation it appears the bear reacted defensively in a surprise encounter and wildlife officials are not actively searching for the bear.

The investigation remains ongoing.

As a general reminder, FWP provided tips for being bear aware.

General tips to stay safe in bear country:

  • Carry and know how to use bear pepper spray for emergencies.

  • Travel in groups of three or more people whenever possible and plan to be out in the daylight hours.

  • Watch for signs of bears such as bear scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks, and partly consumed animal carcasses.

  • Make your presence known by talking, singing, carrying a bell, or other means, especially when near streams or in thick forest where visibility is low. This can be the key to avoiding encounters. Most bears will avoid humans when they know humans are present.

  • Use caution in areas like berry patches where bears occur.

  • Don’t approach a bear; respect their space and move off.

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