According to a Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks press release, two men were injured after a run-in with a grizzly bear while hiking in the Bear Creek area southeast of Ennis, Montana.

According to the release, the attack occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10 when two men encountered a sow grizzly bear and her cubs while hiking off-trail with a dog in the Bear Creek area. Both hikers were injured by the bear but were able to defend themselves using bear spray. Thankfully, both men were able to leave the area on their own and were later treated for minor injuries.

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Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks officials explain that sow grizzly bears with cubs can be incredibly protective of their young, and can be very defensive when it comes to encounters with humans. Wildlife officials believe the attack was the result of the sow protecting her cubs, and that it was defensive in nature.

A game warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the scene of the attack on Wednesday with law enforcement staff from the U.S. Forest Service. The trail closest to the incident has been closed and signs have been put up out of precaution. Other trails in this area have also been signed, advising visitors of the incident. Officials say that no further management action is planned at this time.

Recreationists, residents and people who work outdoors can be prepared for a surprise bear encounter. Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast-moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear.

Click here to learn more about bear safety in Montana.

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