North Idaho

Woman airlifted to hospital after bear attack near Priest Lake

PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - Update: The woman has been released from the hospital. Idaho Department of fish and Game spokesman Phil Cooper said the woman was bit on her head, side, and abdomen.

Crews tracked the bear for four hours. The bear crossed the river, and crews found prints of an adult and cubs on the other side. At that point they ended the search, because the bear had traveled too far and it would be difficult to tell which bear did the attack.

Trails opened back up this afternoon.


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A 60-year-old woman was airlifted to a hospital after being attacked by a bear Tuesday morning near Priest Lake.

According to Phil Cooper with the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife, the woman was walking her dogs at the Priest Lake Visitor Center trails around 9 a.m. when she was attacked by a bear. "She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the bear was apparently frightened by her presence and reacted by charging at her and knocking her down," said Cooper.

She lay on the ground, injured, and called a relative while the bear was still nearby. "They were able to get down the trail and get her up and they were the ones who called the Bonner County Sheriff's Department.," said Cooper.

The woman was airlifted to a nearby hospital. The extent of her injuries are unknown at this time.

The trails outside the Priest Lake Visitor Center closed Tuesday afternoon as crews and dogs tried to locate the bear.

"This particular area around Priest Lake has a very high bear density," said Cooper. "We did a study several years ago that indicated it was probably the highest bear density in the state of Idaho and much of the country."

Fortunately, bear attacks are rare. "If there is an incident it's usually a's usually not a predatory thing it's just they are surprised and they react."

If you plan on hiking in bear country, there are steps you can take to remain safe, like carrying bear spray. And it's also important to make a lot of noise while you're walking.