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Bear encounter at Glacier

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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.

Bear investigation at Glacier

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Officials at Glacier National Park have closed a trail following a reported bear attack over the weekend.

Park officials are also reminding hikers about bear countermeasures in the wake of Saturday’s encounter on the Mount Brown Lookout Trail.

“Park visitors are encouraged to carry, and know how to properly use, bear spray as a deterrent for a charging grizzly bear,” authorities said. “No single deterrent is 100 percent effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved.”

Hikers are also cautioned to travel in groups, make noise to eliminate surprise meetings and remain alert near berry patches and other feeding areas.

According to the initial park service account, a 57-year-old hiker from Texas was hiking alone on the trail at about 9:30 a.m. when a bear charged him from an area below the trail. The hiker sprayed the bear and fired one shot from his handgun, apparently striking it, and the bear fled.

The hiker, who wasn’t injured, turned around and headed out warning others as he went. Rangers closed the trail and began searching for the bear.

Glacier is home to both grizzly and black bears, but it wasn’t clear which species was involved in Saturday’s incident.

The law allows national park visits to carry firearms, but it is against the law to fire them.

Glacier hikers found safe

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Missing Hikers Located
Date: October 15, 2012

Searchers located missing hikers Neal Peckens and Jason Hiser Monday afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) in Glacier National Park. The men are doing well with no injuries. They were flown out of the backcountry and met family members anxiously awaiting their return.

Peckens and Hiser were hiking on the east side of the park near Two Medicine and on Friday, October 12 they failed to make a flight back home to the east coast. An investigation and search was initiated Friday evening by the National Park Service.

The weather was quite challenging for the search operation. Search personnel encountered winter weather conditions and up to 18 inches of snow on trails, snow drifts, limited visibility and very windy conditions.

Organizations assisting Glacier National Park with the search include Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Flathead Country Search and Rescue, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Emergency Aviation Resources, and US Border Patrol.

Missing hikers in Glacier

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Search for Missing Hikers Underway
Date: October 13, 2012

Search efforts are underway in Glacier National Park in Montana for two hikers that have been reported missing. Family members reported them missing on Friday, Oct. 12, when the two men missed their flight from Montana to the East Coast and failed to return home.

It is believed that 32-year-old Neal Peckens from Virginia and 32-year-old Jason Hiser from Maryland departed from the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine on Tuesday, Oct. 9. According to their backcountry permit, the men planned to camp at the Oldman Backcountry Campground on Tuesday night and return to Two Medicine on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Park rangers located the men’s vehicle late Friday, and initiated a search early this morning. An aerial search was conducted and six teams of search personnel hiked the area trails and conducted interviews with park visitors in the area. Weather was challenging for search personnel with windy conditions, low visibility, and rain and snow throughout the day. Additional search personnel from other organizations will be assisting on Sunday.

Peckens is six feet tall and approximately 180 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Hiser is six feet tall and approximately 200 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. It is unknown what clothing the men are wearing and what equipment they have with them.