The pair was following the elk's blood trail when they were suddenly charged by a grizzly bear. The bear bit one hunter on the arm and then ran back into thick cover.
The hunters were not carrying bear spray or firearms. The pair was able to hike four miles out and drove to the medical clinic in Ashton, where the hunter was treated for his injuries and released. The Michigan hunter had been archery-hunting the area for elk for 14 years.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game mails out "How to Hunt Safely in Grizzly Bear Country" brochures to all hunters holding tags for elk hunts in areas that are known to be frequented by grizzlies.
The incident occurred near Sheridan Creek and was originally handled by the Fremont County Sheriff's Office until the GPS coordinates of the location indicated that the incident actually occurred in Clark County. Fish and Game, along with the U.S. Forest Service is handling the remainder of the investigation.
The Forest Service has posted the area to alert the public about grizzly bear activity.
All hunters in the Island Park area are encouraged to carry bear spray and have it readily accessible. When returning to retrieve game it is important to make lots of noise and be ready to encounter a bear. If a bear has claimed their animal, hunters may contact Fish and Game about a replacement tag. If a hunter has time to field dress an animal, but cannot remove it all before dark, the entrails should be moved as far as possible from the carcass and items with human scent left in the area.
To learn more about hunting in grizzly bear country go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/?getPage=248.