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Over the weekend, Montana man Todd Orr was mauled by a grizzly bear twice in the Madison Valley, despite an attempt to use bear spray to fend off the attack.  Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 2 Public Information Officer Vivaca Crowser says the attacks are under investigation and that distance could be a factor.

"It is about getting lucky to spray at that ideal time and knowing when to do it," said Crowser. "If you have a bear that is approaching in that 30-50 foot range it is really the ideal time and this may have been just slightly closer. That might have affected it a bit, but it also might have made enough of a difference that the attack was not a fatal one. It is so hard to tell for sure, but that bit of deterrent there in that situation might have really turned things in the favor of the man that was attacked."

Crowser also says the age of the Bear Spray may be a factor and that bear spray canisters need to be replaced every four years. There is some uncertainty about whether the grizzly bear was behaving normally.

"Was the bear exhibiting normal behavior or abnormal behavior," Crowser said. "It sounds like in a lot of ways it was normal on initial blush anyway by looking at it being a sow with cubs and a protective sort of reaction. The second attack is a little bit odd and that is something we will be looking at."

Depending on the results of the investigation, FWP may decide to trap and euthanize the grizzly. Due to recent bear activity and encounters, Forest Service officials have temporarily closed trails and the area surrounding Bear Creek that leads into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Here is a map of the closures:

Photo Courtesy of Forest Service