Grizzly Bear Attack Leaves Two Hikers Injured

Two hikers were attacked and injured by a grizzly bear in Montana on Tuesday after they stumbled upon the animal and its cubs.

The hikers had been walking in the Bear Creek area in the Madison Range southeast of the town of Ennis during the evening and had a dog with them at the time of the encounter.

As the bear attacked, the two men were able to use bear spray and left the area with minor injuries.

The attack was likely defensive in nature, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) officials cited by local news outlet the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

They warned people never to approach bears and added, according to the paper: "Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear."

The grizzly bear is the official animal of Montana, and while the species usually resides in western parts of the state, the FWP notes they are increasingly roaming areas they have not been in for years. Black bears reside across most of the state.

Grizzly bears are usually larger than black bears. On average, males weigh 400 to 500 pounds in the lower 48 states, while females are on average lighter. Adult individuals can stand more than eight feet tall when on their hind legs.

As well as being very strong, they are also quick. Grizzly bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

FWP officials said the trail nearest the attack on Tuesday was closed on Wednesday and warning signs had been placed on other trails nearby.

In the "Bear Aware" section of its website, the FWP says people should carry EPA-approved bear spray and know how to use it, but states that preventing a conflict is easier than dealing with one. It is also illegal to feed bears in Montana.

Other advice includes traveling in groups and keeping members together, especially kids; making noise whenever possible to avoid surprising a bear; avoiding carcasses; avoiding traveling at night, dawn, or dusk; and keeping food and anything with a scent out of tents. More tips are available on the FWP website here.

In the lower 48 states, grizzly bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Tuesday's attack is not the first to have taken place in Montana this year. A California woman was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear whilst camping near Ovando in the early hours of July 6.

The bear responsible was shot and killed by wildlife officials a few days later.

Brown bear with cubs
A stock photo shows a brown bear with two cubs in Finland. Montana Fish and Wildlife Parks has bear advice on its website. Dgwildlife/Getty