FAIRFIELD, MONTANA — On the morning of September 12, 2023, a sudden confrontation occurred between a hunter and a grizzly bear near the Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, as reported by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). While hunting for upland birds on private land, the hunter was unexpectedly charged by what is believed to be an adult male grizzly bear. To defend himself, the hunter shot at the bear twice from a close distance, hitting it at least once which caused the bear to flee.
Following the incident, FWP initiated an extensive search operation, utilizing personnel on foot, drones, and a helicopter, covering a span of over four square miles to locate the injured animal. Despite finding signs of the bear’s injuries, the team could not locate it, suggesting that it might have moved away from the initial location.
Residents and hunters in the vicinity are urged to exercise caution as the wounded bear might seek refuge in abandoned structures or dense vegetation. FWP is enhancing safety measures by installing signs in the surrounding area to alert individuals to the bear’s presence and encouraging them to remain vigilant. The hunter involved in the incident remained unharmed.