KALISPELL – The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wildlife Human Attack Response Team has completed its investigation into a bear attack that left a woman badly injured in the Cabinet Mountains south of Libby last month.
The report revealed that it was a 24-year-old male grizzly bear that attacked a woman working as a field assistant for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on May 17.
The attack is described by investigators as a "surprise defensive encounter" that happened when the woman walked within 12 feet of the bear.
They said it is unlikely either of them could hear each other because of loud environmental factors like wind and running water.
During the attack, the woman managed to deploy bear spray, which deterred the animal and forced it to flee the area.
The woman then walked about two miles to her vehicle and drove another three miles before encountering another vehicle, which transported her to an ambulance.
DNA analysis of hair collected identified the bear as one captured in 2005 as part of a research project, and is one of the original grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem, spending its whole life there.
He is said to be one of 53 living in the 2,600-mile ecosystem.