A grizzly bear attacked a non-resident archery hunter from Michigan Thursday after he and his partner attempted to locate a bull elk they’d shot the evening before near Sheridan Creek west of Shotgun, according to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG).
According to the Island Park News, the bowhunters were following the elk’s blood trail when they saw grizzly bear tracks and the bear suddenly charged them. It bit one hunter on the shoulder and then apparently ran back to guard the elk carcass. The hunters were not carrying bear spray or firearms. They hiked four miles out of the backcountry and drove to the Ashton Medical Clinic, where the hunter, who was not identified, was treated for minor injuries and released.
According to a press release issued by Idaho Fish and Game on Saturday, Sept. 15, because the grizzly bear was defending what it considered to be its food and did not prolong the encounter, the agency was not planning to dispatch personnel to investigate the scene until the bear has had a chance to consume the carcass.
In addition, the Forest Service was posting the area to warn other bowhunters of the situation.
According to the IFGD, all hunters in the Island Park area are encouraged to carry bear spray and have it readily accessible. When returning to retrieve game it is important to make lots of noise and be ready to encounter a bear. If a bear has claimed their animal, hunters can contact IDFG about a replacement tag. If a hunter has time to field dress an animal, but cannot remove it all before dark, the entrails should be removed as far as possible from the carcass and items with human scent left in the area.