Grizzly charges hunter until he shoots it, officials say. Now search is on for bear

A bird hunter shot a charging male grizzly bear in Montana, officials said.

Now wildlife officials are looking for the wounded animal.

The hunter was walking along rows of plants when the bear appeared and started running toward him Sept. 12 near Fairfield, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in a news release.

Once the animal was 15 feet away, the hunter shot at the bear twice with his shotgun, wildlife officials said. The bear was struck “at least once.”

Then it ran off.

The uninjured hunter reported the incident, and the wildlife agency began investigating the area by foot and with drones.

Wildlife officers also searched for the bear by helicopter the following day, covering 4 square miles. They couldn’t find it.

It’s likely the bear left the immediate area, officials said. But they are still warning the public to be cautious because the bear may be hiding in abandoned buildings or in thick brush.

Fairfield is about 90 miles north of Helena.

What to do if you see a bear

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. In most attacks, bears are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack; they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack.

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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