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Grizzly Mauls Texan in Glacier Park

July 3, 1987

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. (AP) _ A grizzly bear mauled a researcher who was hiking in Glacier National Park, but the man played dead and escaped with relatively minor injuries, park officials said.

Gregg Erickson, a graduate student at Texas A&M University, was doing research work in the park Thursday when he was attacked and bitten twice by a grizzly sow, said park ranger Dallas Koehn.

Erickson, 26, had hiked about two miles northwest from Marias Pass but was not on established trails when the incident occurred about 3 p.m., Koehn said.

″He was at the 7,000 foot level when he spotted the bear with two cubs about 100 yards below him,″ Koehn said. ″He made some noise and the bear attacked immediately, biting him on the right calf and knocking him down.″

Koehn said Erickson slid a short distance down a slope and played dead but the bear came down and bit him once on the back before leaving.

Erickson hiked back to his car and drove to East Glacier, where he met a park naturalist who took him to a hospital. Erickson was treated and released a short time later, Koehn said.

The ranger said no action would be taken against the grizzly.

″It’s considered a natural, protective action of the bear in this situation, with its cubs,″ Koehn said.

He said a park trail in the area near the attack would be closed to the public until authorities are satisfied the bear is no longer in the area.

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