A woman was killed in “an apparent bear encounter” on the Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone in Montana this weekend. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) are investigating the attack after the woman was “found deceased Saturday morning,” according to USA Today.
Officials found grizzly bear tracks at the scene and the investigation is ongoing. Following the discovery, an emergency closure was issued for the Buttermilk area in the Custer Gallatin National Forest, which is a popular hiking trail, citing “bear and human safety concerns.”
Grizzly bears have increased their territory as the population continues to rise, leading to more sightings and potential for human-bear conflict. Even in Montana, grizzlies have expanded their range into areas like the Pryor Mountains where they haven’t been seen since the 1800s.
And this isn’t a lone incident. Aside from recent bear attacks in Arizona and Colorado, in this video clip recorded on July 14, a hiker walks backwards after he encountered a sow and two cubs during a camping trip.
Take this news item as a warning to always be vigilant in bear country. Carry bear spray, store food outside, tend to garbage and hike in groups during daylight hours.