(NewsNation) — A 73-year-old woman was airlifted to hospital Sunday after a bear attack near the United States-Canada border.
The attack happened about 3 p.m. north of Polebridge in Flathead County, Montana, according to the state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP). The woman was with her dog and her husband when a bear emerged from a thick brush and attacked her, according to a news release. The bear relented after the woman’s husband sprayed it with bear spray, allowing them to go back to their car and call for help.
It’s unclear what type of bear the couple encountered. The site is closed while officials investigate.
The department said bears are active for longer periods in the fall when they store food and prepare for hibernation. In Montana, that period overlaps with hunting season and fall recreation activities.
Officials recommend carrying bear spray and being ready to use it, traveling in groups, making noise to alert bears of your presence, staying away from animal carcasses, and properly storing food and garbage to avoid conflicts with bears.
It’s advised to never feed wildlife; if you encounter a bear, never approach it. In an attack where you have no deterrent or a deterrent like bear spray isn’t working, stay face-down on the ground and protect your face and neck with your arms until you’re certain the bear has left.
People who hunt in places that have or may have grizzly bears, such as northwest Montana, should take extra precautions. Elk calls and cover scents, for example, can attract bears, according to Montana FWP.
Meat should be removed from the kill site as soon as possible. If it needs to be left in the field during processing, it should be hung at least 10 feet off the ground and at least 150 yards from the gut pile – somewhere where it can be observed from at least 200 yards.
When you return, first check the meat using binoculars. If it has been disturbed or if a bear is in the area, leave and call FWP.