Bear comes out of brush and attacks 73-year-old, officials say. Husband rushes to help

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A 73-year-old was airlifted to the hospital after she was attacked by a bear in Montana, officials said.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks crews got a call Oct. 1 that a woman had been attacked “along the bank of Trail Creek” in Flathead County, according to a news release by wildlife officials.

The woman was out in “national forestland” near the U.S.-Canada border with her dog and husband when a bear came out of “thick brush” and went after her, officials said.

The woman’s husband used bear spray, which made the bear move away. They went back to their car to drive to an area to call for medical attention, the release said.

The woman was airlifted to Logan Health Medical Center in Kalispell, officials said.

The Trail Creek, known as “Bubble ups,” remained closed as of Oct. 2, and the bear hadn’t been found, officials said.

Officials didn’t disclose the woman’s current condition.

Officials want the public to remember “Montana is bear country,” and bears are eating more as they prepare for hibernation which overlaps with fall recreation activities, the release said.

What to do if you see a bear

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. In most attacks, bears are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack; they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack.

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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