BIG SKY, Mont. — A grizzly bear mauled a man near Big Sky, Montana, last week, and Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department (FWP) has determined that the bear was acting in self-defense.

On Friday, Sept. 8, the owner of a vehicle rental business in Big Sky was guiding two of his customers through the Yellow Mule area of the Madison Range in search of a deer they had shot, according to the Associated Press. While they were tracking the deer, the party noticed a small grizzly bear. As the guide was pulling out his gun, he was attacked by a larger grizzly bear they hadn’t yet seen. His gun misfired, so he punched the bear, which reportedly provoked the bear to bite off the man’s lower jaw. One of the hunters shot the bear, which then fled. The victim was flown to a hospital, where he’s recovering from injuries.

FWP searched for a potentially wounded bear, but located none. On Tuesday, Sept. 12, FWP staff and deputies from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office visited the attack site, where they found signs of high bear activity, “including the remains of a cached animal carcass, whitebark pine middens and bear scat. This evidence indicates the bear attacked defensively in a surprise, close encounter with the victim,” FWP’s press release said.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest is still closed following the incident. FWP says no further management action is planned.

It’s been a busy few weeks for grizzly activity across Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

Marianne is a Community News Reporter interested in community, entertainment and eccentric locals. She hails from California and loves podcast recommendations.