By Dax VanFossen – KAJ News
WEST GLACIER — Wildlife officials have confirmed it was a grizzly bear that killed a 38-year-old West Glacier man on his bicycle Wednesday afternoon near Glacier National Park.
The man is being identified at Brad Treat of West Glacier, a career law enforcement officer with the Flathead National Forest. The grizzly bear attack happened shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Halfmoon Lakes area near West Glacier on U.S Forest Service land.
Treat was mountain biking on a trail with another male at the time of the attack. It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
The second rider was able to exit the area to summon help and was not injured or involved in the attack.
The area has been closed by the U.S. Forest Service for public safety pending completion of the investigation.
“At this point and time the Forest Service is closing the entire area — from Desert Mountain to Coram, over to West Glacier,. So, that area is closed until further notice,” Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Lieb said.
The attack is being investigated by the Wildlife Human Attack Response Team of the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, The U.S Forest Service and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks report that the Green Gate/Half Moon trail system remains closed by the USFS because of public safety concerns.
FWP investigators searched for the offending bear on Wednesday, but weren’t able to locate it. Late Wednesday night, two traps and remote cameras were set for the bear and monitoring of the traps will continue.
FWP spokesman John Fraley added that flights are also being conducted with the aid of Two Bear Air in an attempt to locate the bear.
FWP Warden Captain Lee Anderson noted that samples for DNA analysis were collected at the scene in efforts to identify the individual bear.
“We are attempting to capture and/or confirm the identity of the offending bear,” Anderson said. “When we have more information we will decide what actions to take.”