Cyclist killed by a bear near Ovando

OVANDO - A cyclist was killed by a grizzly bear in a campground near Ovando before dawn Tuesday, July 6 according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

FWP’s Wildlife Human Attack Response Team is currently responding to the fatal attack by searching for the suspected bear. The team is made up of game wardens, biologists and wildlife conflict specialists. A helicopter has been added to aid in the search. The camper, who has not yet been identified, was attacked around 3:30 a.m.

A local business’ video camera caught footage of the bear Monday night. The bear also raided a chicken coop before the attack.

FWP spokesman Greg Lemon said if the team is able to locate the bear involved in the attack, then their intent is to euthanize it.

Because exact details of the attack have not yet been determined, Lemon said it is hard to say that there were any specific steps that could have been taken to avoid this particular circumstance. However, he advises residents and visitors in the area to keep attractants such as food, dog food or bird feeders secure.

“If [attractants are] put away, that's a big step,” he said. “And then if you're camping, keep a clean camp. Keep those sorts of food items or attractants in that vehicle, trailer or somewhere secure. And then if you're tenting, [keep] as far away from where you're preparing your food as possible. … Those are always good ideas when you're living [or camping] in … any bear country.”

Lemon said tragedies like this are rare.

“Usually grizzly bears like to avoid people and like to avoid communities,” he said. “And it's rare for us to have a circumstance where someone is attacked in the middle of the night while camping.”

By order of the Powell County Sheriff, all camping is closed and sleeping in bicycle shelters overnight in Ovando is prohibited until July 11 or when the bear is apprehended. Tent camping within seven miles of Ovando is discouraged. The Fire Hall and the Blackfoot Community Church in Ovando will be open for cyclists to sleep overnight if needed.

More details on the incident will be released as they become available.


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