A new report details the final moments of a career Flathead National Forest law enforcement officer killed last summer after a chance encounter with a grizzly bear.
Late last June, Brad Treat and a friend went for an early afternoon mountain bike ride in the Halfmoon Lake Area just outside Glacier National Park.
Chris Servheen says Treat is estimated to have been going about 20 miles-per-hour as he rounded a blind corner at the bottom of a hill.
“Mr. Treat and the bear saw each other in a matter of a second or two," Servheen says. "Neither one had time to evade each other and he collided with the bear.”
Servheen, the retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, says the 38-year-old Treat was badly injured after crashing into the animal.
“Yeah, he broke both his wrists and one of his scapula as he was thrown forward. The coroners noted those are typical injuries for somebody in a bike crash," he says.
The shocked bear then fatally mauled Treat.
“He was bitten by the bear several times in the head," Servheen says. "(The bear) killed Mr. Treat right away at the site of the site of the collision.”
Servheen chaired the interagency panel that reviewed the circumstances of Brad Treat’s fatal accident.
“Colliding with bears is not an unusual thing for mountain bikers. It’s actually quite common," he added.
The Board of Review issued recommendations Monday for mountain bikers riding in bear country. They include watching for signs of bear activity, carrying bear spray and making noise, but Servheen stresses, "The key issue is to slow down. You can’t go as fast as you can ride in a place where you can’t see very well, where you could run into an animal like a bear.”
Servheen also reminds Montanans that some bears will start to emerge from their dens by the end of this month. Hungry sows with cubs are due out by late April to early May.