A mule deer hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear over the weekend in Montana’s Custer-Gallatin National Forest. According to Gallatin County Search & Rescue (GCSAR) the man required immediate medical attention and was quickly life-lighted to a nearby medical facility.
“The GCSAR team members along with law enforcement arrived on scene of the attack then quickly transported the patient to Life Flight Helicopter waiting at a nearby helicopter pad,” the search and rescue department stated in a Sept. 8 Facebook Post. “The patient ultimately was taken to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center for further evaluation.”
The incident occurred in the Buck Ridge Yellow Mule area of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, near the resort community of Big Sky. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has closed a large swath of the forest along Forest Service Road #2599 in response to the mauling.
“The closure is necessary after an individual was attacked by a grizzly bear and shot at and likely wounded the bear,” the USFS said in a Facebook press release. “Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Forest Service staff are investigating the incident and are trying to locate the bear.”
According Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Greg Lemon, the state agency never located the grizzly that was involved in the attack. “We were up there on Saturday (Sept. 9) looking to get some more information about the encounter,” Lemon tells Field & Stream, “and to make sure that there was no wounded animal that we had to deal with as well.”
In a Go-Fund Me post, the man’s daughter said that he lost his lower jaw and sustained several other injuries. “The Grizzly left a large scratch down his right chest, bit his arms, legs, and to top it all off, gave him as what Rudy describes as the most disgusting french kiss of his life before biting down and tearing off his lower jaw,” KateLynn Noorlander wrote, describing her father Rudy Noorlander’s current condition. “Luckily he was not alone, the hunters were there to scare the bear away and call for a life-flight but since the threat of bears still loomed, the first helicopter that responded needed to wait for another helicopter to come to potentially scare away any remaining bears.”
The attack comes on the heels of two similar encounters involving grizzly bears and hunters in the region. On Sept. 1, a pair of elk hunters shot and killed a grizzly in self defense as it charged them during a surprise encounter in thick brush. In late August, two hunters were scouting for elk in northwest Montana when they were charged by a grizzly bear in dense cover. One of the hunters involved in the August incident was accidentally shot in the back of the shoulder by his partner, but the two men managed to kill the charging grizzly before it could reach them.
On September 2, officials euthanized a sow grizzly near West Yellowstone, Montana after it entered a home with its cub and removed a container of dog food. Genetic tracing linked that bear to the July 22 attack of hiker Amy Adamson. Adamson was running along a popular trail in the Custer-Gallatin National Forest when she encounter the sow grizzly and its cub. She was mauled and ultimately died from her wounds.