State confirms grizzly was involved in Sunday attack
State wildlife officials confirmed Tuesday that the bear involved in an attack on a hunter Sunday morning northwest of Columbia Falls was a grizzly.
Dillon Tabish, a spokesman for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said the agency did not find the bear suspected in the encounter. But Tabish said other evidence and analysis, along with interviews with victim Anders Broste, identified the attacking animal as an adult grizzly.
Broste, 36, lives near Columbia Falls, and was hunting Sunday around 9:20 a.m. with a friend on private timberland off Trumbull Canyon Road, not too many miles from Broste’s home, when the attack occurred.
The friend was hunting about 150 yards away at the time.
During an interview Monday, Broste, still hospitalized at the time at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, said he was moving through heavy brush before the bear’s attack.
“It was on me in seconds,” Broste said Monday.
He said he believes the grizzly was bedded down in the brush and that the attack occurred because he surprised the bear.
Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Wildlife Human Attack Response Team reached the same conclusion, reporting that a “surprise encounter” prompted the attack. The agency said no action will be taken against the grizzly.
On Monday, Broste said he didn’t blame the bear for the attack.
“I was in its territory,” he said. “It did what a bear does.”
The state agency reported Tuesday that the grizzly bit both of Broste’s arms and pulled him by the leg about 7 to 8 feet before letting go and fleeing.
Broste said Monday that the bear’s attack had broken the radius bone in his right arm and also dislocated that arm. He said he did not anticipate these or other injuries will have permanent impacts if he follows doctors’ orders for recovery.
On Sunday, Broste’s hunting partner dialed 911 to summon help. Two Bear Air Rescue, ALERT Air Ambulance, North Valley Search and Rescue and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office responded. As did Fish, Wildlife and Park’s team that investigates wildlife attacks on humans.
The agency emphasized Tuesday that Northwest Montana’s population of grizzly and black bears is active as the animals prepare for denning. The agency advises hunters and other recreationists to carry pepper spray and remain alert to bear activity and bear sign, such as scat, diggings, torn-up logs and turned over rocks.
Reporter Duncan Adams may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 758-4407.