Bear killed after wilderness attack

Attack occurred while victim was in tent

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The ALERT crew arrives at Kalispell Regional Medical Center with a victim of a bear mauling from the Bob Marshall Wilderness on Friday. The man, who suffered minor injuries, was attacked in his tent in the morning by a black bear, which was killed Friday afternoon.

A man was mauled by a black bear Friday morning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The bear later was killed near the man’s camp in the Black Bear Creek drainage deep in the wilderness.

The man was in his tent when he was attacked by the bear, according to Wade Muehlhof, a spokesman for the Flathead National Forest.

“This was not an encounter on the trail or anything,” Muehlhof said. “The man was in his tent when the attack occurred.”

Jim Satterfield, regional supervisor for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said a Wildlife-Human Attack Response team of wardens and wildlife conflict specialists shot and killed the bear at about 1:30 p.m. Friday. The attack occurred at 7:30 a.m.

“The bear had pepper spray on it and blood on its claws, and we got it about 30 yards from [the victim’s] camp,” he said. “We’re pretty doggone sure we got the right bear. ... The reason we were able to kill the bear is it remained in the proximity of the camp.”

Spotted Bear District Ranger Deb Mucklow said the man was transported by ALERT helicopter to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

The helicopter flew into the Black Bear Creek drainage at about 9 a.m. and returned to the hospital with the patient at about 10:30 a.m.

“We do have Fish, Wildlife and Parks engaged in conducting an investigation,” Mucklow said Friday morning. “We got the scene secured, and the patient is stable.”

Satterfield had no other information late Friday about the attack or the nature of the victim’s injuries.

“The Forest Service did a hell of a job on the scene, securing the campsite and helping get this guy out,” he said.

A nursing supervisor at the Kalispell hospital said the man was in stable condition with minor injuries, but he would be staying in the hospital overnight.

Reporter Jim Mann may be reached at 758-4407 or by email at jmann@dailyinterlake.com.

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