BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A grizzly bear has mauled a mountain biker on a trail near the Spanish Peaks Mountain Club in southern Montana, causing severe injuries to his face and neck.
Peter Scherfig was biking alone on his 61st birthday Monday when he was attacked, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. He was taken by ambulance to Big Sky Medical Center, flown to Billings for further treatment and then flown to Portland, Oregon on Thursday, authorities said.
Scherfig remains in critical but stable condition. His injuries required major cranial and facial reconstruction and his jaw is wired shut. He also suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Morgan Jacobsen said it was considered a surprise encounter. The department did not try to find the bear since its behavior was not considered predatory.
“Very commonly grizzly bears act defensively in surprise close encounters with humans,” Jacobsen said. “It appears that’s what happened in this case.”
Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association board member Melissa Cronin said it is important to be aware of bears when on trails. Jacobsen recommended trail users to carry bear spray, noise makers or travel in groups.