Man survives bear attack near Whitefish

A grizzly bear walks down the Inside North Fork Road. (Hungry Horse News file photo)

A man, his daughter and their two dogs survived a bear attack Sunday in the Haskill Basin area near Whitefish.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded to the scene at around 3 p.m., according to Flathead County dispatch. 

According to a FWP report, the man and his daughter were walking their dogs on a gated road on F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. property about 3.5 miles northeast of Whitefish when they surprised an adult female grizzly bear and her two cubs. The bears were feeding on a deer carcass about 35 yards off the road. 

The adult bear dashed past the daughter, who was walking the dogs on leashes, and attacked the father. 

The man was able to deter the bear during the attack with pepper spray, causing the bear to retreat from the road. The two cubs reportedly crossed the road several times during the attack.

The man was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, which included bites to the wrist, shoulder and head. 

Wildlife officials this morning removed the deer carcass and set up trail cameras to monitor the area. 

The area where the attack occurred is currently closed on parts of both Stolze and Haskill Basin land. Until further notice, the closure includes Stoltze land in the Haskill Basin area, west of Haskill Creek Road and Haskill Basin Road east to Wisconsin Avenue. 

Fish, Wildlife and Parks has reached out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Grizzly Bear Coordinator to plan further actions, which will be determined by monitoring the area. Agencies are not currently planning to trap the bears. Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Wildlife Human Attack Response Team is also investigating the attack.

Reporter Seaborn Larson may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at


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