On the same day and in the same area, three Montana hunters were injured in two separate grizzly bear attacks, state wildlife officials said.
Officials have not determined whether the same animal participated in the two attacks this week across the Gravel Mountains, southwest of Bozeman. The three hunters received injuries described as moderate to severe.
The grizzly bear killed two male hunters around 7:30 a.m. Monday before being able to chase the animal away, fish, wildlife and parks reported in Montana.
Hours later, a third hunter was injured by a bear in the same common area when the animal attacked at about 6:30 pm, according to the department. In this case, a second hunter is unharmed before the pair chases the bear.
Hunters are warned to avoid the area.
Montana fish, wildlife and parks say both men injured in the morning attack are seeking treatment in Ennis.
The couple then went to a sports goods store to buy new clothes and told an employee there that the bear was about 20 feet away and probably sleep when shocked, said the worker by Shedhorn Sports NBC Montana.
"They said he was upright in their face, right there, at them, before they even had a chance to really even grab a gun or do something that I thought was important for people to know," the employee, Terry James, told NBC Montana.
"The bear was on top of one of the men and the other was able to get to his bear spray," James tells the station. "And he sprayed the bear, and that's exactly what made the bear go."
Men seem to be in a good mood, James said.
The grizzly population in and around Yellowstone National Park, which includes the Grauli range, increased from about 136 bears when they were granted federal protection in the mid-1970s to about 700, Associated Press
A spokesman for Montana fish, wildlife and parks told the Bozeman Chronicle that the attacks served as a good reminder that hunters should avoid going out alone.
"The predominant lesson learned here is hunting with a partner can save your life in many cases," Morgan Jacobsen tells the newspaper.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks urges people to be cautious since bears are active during this time of year and suggests traveling in groups not only to wear bear spray but also to be familiar with how to use it. If a bear is encountered, people are urged to back away and slowly leave the area.