As a newbie to Montana a couple summers ago, we set out on a weekend adventure to see a little scenery and do some exploring. After recapping the weekend, somebody at work was quick to fill me in on the need to start carrying bear spray. That was news to me. I had never really lived anywhere that bumping into a bear was something that had a decent chance of happening. Hearing a coworker list off a couple personal experiences opened my eyes to the need to be prepared while in the outdoors, even if it's not deep in the woods.

A story out of Yellowstone National Park has a woman from Missouri encountering two grizzly bears as she was hiking alone. Luckily, the woman ended up with just a scratch and a few other minor injures. It sounds like the confrontation was a case of a run-in with a protective mother grizzly.

It was the first report of a bear injuring a Yellowstone visitor since June of last year.

KPAX article about the attack listed the following ways to stay safe while hiking where bear encounters are possible. The list came from a Yellowstone representative so it references the park in a few of them, but most apply to anywhere bears may be present.

  • Hike in groups of three or more people
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it
  • Be alert and make noise
  • Stay out of areas that are closed for bear management
  • Don’t hike at dawn, dusk, or at night when grizzly bears are most active
  • If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal
  • Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Stay 25 yards (23 m) away from all large animals - bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves.