A pair of bow hunters were lucky to escape with just minor injuries after inadvertently surprising a mother grizzly bear and her cubs.
The two men were in the backcountry in the Apache Ridge area of the Idaho panhandle Wednesday morning when they encountered the bears, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
The hunters used bear spray to defend themselves during the attack, wildlife officials said.
The men were able to walk out of the backcountry on their own, officials said. One of them needed stitches but has been released from the hospital.
Conservation officers are investigating the incident.
Idaho Fish and Game officials warned that both black bears and grizzly bears live in the Selkirk Mountains. They recommend that anyone using the area’s forests prepare themselves for bear encounters and carry bear spray.
Grizzly bears have historically lived across Idaho, but today are generally only found in the northern panhandle and eastern parts of the state near Yellowstone National Park, according to Idaho Fish and Game. They are federally protected in the state.
State biologists track grizzly bears to study their reproduction, survival, and locations.
The bears can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand 6 feet to 7 feet tall when on their hind legs. Their front claws grow between 2 inches and 4 inches long.
Grizzlies use their sense of smell – 1,000 times more powerful than a human’s nose – to find food. The omnivores eat many different foods, including whitebark pine nuts and army cutworm moths. They can eat 40,000 of the moths in a single day, gaining 30 pounds a week.