A Wisconsin man escaped serious injury thanks to his bear mace when he stubbled into a grizzly and her kids while hiking off trail at Glacier National Park in Montana. Fall is the time of year when bears are binging to prepare for winter hibernation, and park officials said a shortage of berries in the park is drawing bears into inhabited areas.

Hiker injured by grizzly in GlacierSept. 30, 2015

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – A hiker was injured by a grizzly bear on Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at approximately 5 pm in Glacier National Park. His injuries were not life threatening.
The 65-year male hiker from Wisconsin was hiking alone off- trail near Mt. Henkel in the Many Glacier Valley, where he surprised a sow grizzly with two sub-adult cubs. The hiker was grabbed and shaken by the bear during the encounter. The man successfully deployed his bear spray, causing the bear to release him and leave the area. The hiker received puncture wounds to his lower leg and injuries to his hand.

The man hiked back to his vehicle in Many Glacier and drove himself to the emergency room at the Northern Rockies Medical Center in Cutbank, Montana. He was treated and released later the evening of September 29, and continued on with his travel itinerary. He called Glacier National Park Dispatch to report the incident. Rangers are still investigating the incident.

According to park rangers, the bear’s response to the hiker was defensive in nature and consistent with a surprise encounter with a hiker.