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black bear stockimage

A black bear looks down from a tree.

KALISPELL – An elderly woman who authorities said was feeding bears at her home west of Kalispell was attacked by one inside her residence Sunday.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks investigator Brian Sommers termed the attack by a black bear “severe” and said the woman, whose age was not provided, suffered serious injuries and remains hospitalized at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

FWP officials said bears had been “extensively” fed with bird seed and other food at the residence.

Wildlife managers have been warning western Montanans of increased bear activity for several weeks, and encouraging residents to remove or secure all bear attractants.

“Investigators could not determine the bear’s point of entry into the residence,” said FWP Region 1 spokesman John Fraley, “but the bear exited through a window.”

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The home is located in a rural area between Batavia, a small unincorporated area on U.S. Highway 2 west of Kalispell, and Ashley Lake.

Bear traps have been placed in the area, but the animal had not been captured as of Monday evening.

FWP wildlife management specialist Erik Wenum said other residents of the area have been notified of the situation.

Flathead County sheriff’s deputies and FWP wardens and investigators responded to the initial call late Sunday afternoon.

FWP Warden Capt. Lee Anderson said the agency’s Wildlife-Human Attack Response Team continues its investigation.

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