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Grizzly killed after charging Kalispell elk hunters

October 23, 2011

From Missoulian

An adult female grizzly bear was shot and killed Saturday after charging a pair of Kalispell elk hunters and injuring one of them near the Continental Divide about four miles south of Marias Pass on U.S. Highway 2, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.

Anthony Willits, 31, and Gregory Louden, 29, had earlier in the day shot a bull elk, taken out a portion of the meat, and were returning to the carcass when they encountered the sow and two cubs.

The men reported that as the sow grizzly charged them, they shot it once before it bit Willits in the lower left leg below the knee. Louden shot the bear three more times, killing it.

The men hiked out, called 9-1-1 and went to the Indian Health Service in Browning where there were met by Montana FWP game warden Travis Haworth.
From Browning, Willits was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. His condition is unknown.

On Sunday, a team of two FWP game wardens, two U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers, an FWP bear management specialist, and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent planned to return to area to investigate and if necessary close the trail.

The Kalispell hunters' route south from U.S. Highway 2 was on Forest Service trail 133 to trail 137 to the intersection of trail 136, where the attack took place.

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