West Yellowstone, Montana – Montana State wildlife officials believe a woman was killed by a grizzly bear in the Custer Gallatin national forest. On Saturday morning, the woman’s body was found on the Buttermilk Trail near the town of West Yellowstone.
Wildlife officials have not released the woman’s cause of death, but they have noted that it appears to be the result of “an apparent bear encounter.”
In a news release, Montana Fish and Wildlife said that the woman had wounds consistent with a bear attack, and bear tracks from an adult grizzly, and a cub, were found near her body.
Out of precaution, the Custer Gallatin National Forest implemented an emergency closure; residents and visitors in the area were notified of the closure and bear activity. Officials conducted a search of the area, but did not locate any bears.
According to the release, the woman appears to have been hiking alone, and there was no bear spray or firearms located near her body. The incident remains under investigation.
The state agency reminds visitors that Montana is “bear country,” and grizzly bear populations are becoming “denser and more widespread” in the area. The agency provides safety measures that should be taken by visitors:
- Carry bear spray and be prepared to use it immediately.
- Travel in groups whenever possible and make noise, which can help alert bears to your presence.
- Stay away from animal carcasses, which often attract bears.
- Follow food storage orders from the applicable land management agency.
- If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Leave the area when it is safe to do so.
- Keep garbage, bird feeders, pet food and other attractants put away in a secure building. Keep garbage in a secure building until the day it is collected. Certified bear-resistant garbage containers are available in many areas.
- Never feed wildlife. Bears that become food conditioned lose their natural foraging behavior and pose threats to human safety. It is illegal to feed bears in Montana.
(Stock images of Yellowstone and Grizzy bear via Pixabay Free Images)
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