Woman who scared off Montana grizzly bear was killed when it attacked later, investigation finds

A bear trap set by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in the camping area in Ovando, Mont., where bicycle tourist Leah Davis Lokan of Chico, Calif., was pulled out of her tent and killed by a grizzly bear on July 6, 2021. An investigation found Lokan was the victim of a rare predatory attack by a food-conditioned bear that was likely attracted to food in and near her tent and scents left behind from recent picnics.

A bear trap set by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in the camping area in Ovando, Mont., where bicycle tourist Leah Davis Lokan of Chico, Calif., was pulled out of her tent and killed by a grizzly bear on July 6, 2021. An investigation found Lokan was the victim of a rare predatory attack by a food-conditioned bear that was likely attracted to food in and near her tent and scents left behind from recent picnics. (Tom Bauer, The Missoulian via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A new investigation report says a woman was killed during a camping trip in Montana last year when a bear attacked her in her camp site.

The investigation was launched by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, and the 26-page report released in late June showed that the attacking bear had originally been scared away from the camp.

Leah Davis Lokan, a 65-year-old retired nurse from California, was killed by a grizzly bear in Ovando, Montana, on July 6, 2021.

The report found that Lokan had originally chased the bear away one hour before it returned and killed her. Though Lokan was traveling with her sister, she was sleeping alone in her tent when the attack occurred.

Lokan's sister was staying in a nearby hotel, but Lokan had pitched her tent next to a couple named Joe and Kim Cole, according to the report.

Insider reported that at approximately 3 a.m., Lokan woke to the sound of a 417-pound bear "huffing" at her head from outside the tent. She woke the Coles, who helped scare the bear off by making loud noises.

She refused an offer from the Coles to stay in a hotel room for the rest of the night. She was reported to have moved food out of her tent and armed herself with bear spray before going back to sleep.

The Coles told officials that around 4 a.m., they woke to a noise that sounded like Lokan was being attacked and saw the dark outline of the bear "pouncing up and down" on her tent as Joe Cole tried to scare it away.

The autopsy report found that Lokan was killed instantly: the bear severed her spine and broke her neck. DNA tests confirmed that the same 4- to 7-year-old grizzly bear also raided a chicken coop hours after the attack. The bear was killed by officials several days later according to the report.

The report also contained an image captured by a remote camera showing a bear that officials believe to be the one that attacked Lokan.

Related stories

Most recent U.S. stories

Related topics

The WestU.S.Outdoors & Rec
Madison Selcho

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast