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Mystic Lake camper in Gallatin County bitten by bear Saturday

Mystic Lake camper in Gallatin County bitten by bear Saturday

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A person camping near Mystic Lake in Gallatin County on Saturday was bitten by a bear and then flown to a hospital for treatment, according to Gallatin County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue. 

The incident is one of two involving bears last week in the Bozeman Ranger District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest in which "improperly stored food attractants played a contributing role," district Recreation Program Manager Wendy Urie said in a statement Saturday night.

The person was bitten a couple hours after dawn while they were roughly 10 miles up Sourdough Trail near Mystic Lake, and the incident set off an emergency closure Saturday that the forest service said it would be reevaluating Sunday.

The closure includes Sourdough Trailhead, Moser Cutoff Trail, South Fork Bozeman Creek, New World Gulch and the single track known as Wall of Death at the 5 mile point on Sourdough, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue stated in a social media post Saturday evening that the person bitten by the bear was too injured to make the trip down from the lake but was able to find a runner who called 911. 

LifeFlight personnel searched by air and were eventually able to find the injured person. They were treated onsite and then flown to Bozeman Deaconness Hospital, and the incident has prompted Sheriff Dan Spring to remind people recreating to be aware of their surroundings.

The forest service said the bite did not result in life-threatening injuries and that law enforcement did not see the bear during their investigation. The ongoing investigation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will determine the animal species, behavior and determine what management actions, if any, should be taken, according to the forest service. 

The other bear incident involving food attractants happened Thursday morning. In that incident a bear received a "food reward" at Battle Ridge Campground in the Bridger Range. 

The Forest Service is encouraging people to remain bear aware, which means:

• carrying bear spray and have it readily accessible,

• always properly storing all food and attractants in bear-safe (approved) canisters,

• hiking or traveling during the daylight hours, and traveling in groups,

• making lots of noise and staying alert for signs of bears in the area.

The Forest Service on Saturday also found an abandoned warm campfire and the federal agency is warning people to both property store food and ensure campfires are dead when put out. 

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