By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An elderly West Yellowstone, Montana, man was attacked by a sow grizzly with two yearling cubs over the weekend.
According to a news release from Idaho Fish and Game, Gregory Godar, 73, and his wife had a “surprise encounter” with the bear and her cubs late Friday afternoon in Henrys Lake State Park in eastern Idaho.
The couple was hiking along the Outlet Overlook Trail when they came across the grizzlies. Godar was unable to deploy the bear spray he had strapped to his chest.
“If I had one word of advice, it would be to carry your bear spray in your hand and not strapped to your chest,” Godar said in the release. “I think if I had it in my hand I could have stopped her.”
He also explained that his wife was able to deploy her spray as they backed out of the area, but the bears were too far away by that time.
Godar was injured, but was able to walk out of the park on his own. Around 5:30 p.m., he was transported by helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. He was treated for his injuries and released.
Nearby hikers, anglers and residents of the Henrys Lake area were contacted about the attack.
Fish and Game conducted a sweep of the trail system on Saturday, but found no bears. The attack site was found, with a mostly consumed animal carcass nearby, which was collected and removed.
Several day beds used by bears were found in the vicinity of the attack site, though.
Due to the surprise nature of the attack, wildlife officials determined it was unnecessary to trap or pursue the bears at this time. Fish and Game recommended to park officials that the trails remain closed for about a week.