This particular incident ended in relatively minor human
injuries, but we found it representative of the increasingly common
intersection between people, wild places, and wild animals. We are
reminded that we all live on a finite spread of real
A Missoula woman was injured Friday morning when she surprised a
female black bear with two cubs on the Crazy Canyon Trail on the
east side of Missoula.
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), the woman
was running down the Crazy Canyon Trail in the Lolo National Forest
Pattee Canyon Recreation Area at approximately 8:30 a.m. when she
spotted an adult black bear in front of her.
The jogger immediately stopped, began to back away from the bear
and then noticed that she was between the bear and two cubs. The
bear approached and swiped at her and made contact, and the woman
responded by speaking firmly and raising her arms to protect her
face and make herself look larger. The bear then made several
advances towards her before both she and the bear backed away and
left the scene.
The jogger sought medical attention for minor abrasions on her arms
and chest. The injuries did not require stitches, and she was
released from the hospital this morning.
FWP Warden Captain, Jeff Darrah, says that the woman responded
appropriately. “When she realized that she was between the mom and
her cubs and could not simply back away and leave the area, she did
what she should have done to protect herself.”
FWP wardens will visit the scene today and will work with the US
Forest Service to post the surrounding area to notify visitors
about the recent bear activity.
FWP and the Forest Service says that this encounter is a reminder
that Missoula Valley is home to abundant wildlife, particularly on
forested trails and along densely forested stream bottoms.
According to FWP Wildlife Manager, Mike Thompson, “Unfortunately
this woman ended up between a mom and her cubs, which made the bear
feel threatened. Bears and other wildlife with young often have
more difficulty reacting to surprise encounters at this time of
year because the young wildlife are still more dependent and less
mobile than they will be by fall and winter. Hikers and others
should be aware that an encounter with defensive wildlife can
happen anywhere, anytime. We recommend staying alert to your
surroundings, making noise when travelling through dense cover and
carrying bear spray as a precaution.”