Leah Davis Lokam, 65, was killed early Tuesday morning in Ovando, Montana.
It's every camper's nightmare come true. A grizzly bear pulled a woman from her tent early Tuesday morning and killed her before others could scare the animal away with bear spray.
Chico, California, native Leah Davis Lokam was with a group of fellow bikers on a long-distance trek when they stopped in Ovando, Montana (about an hour east of Missoula), to rest. The 65-year-old and two others set up camp near the small town's post office, where the bear made two visits that fateful night.
The grizzly bear's first visit occurred around 3 a.m., which awakened the three campers. They took the food out of their tents and put it in a secure spot before going back to sleep. Surveillance videos caught the bear about a block away from the post office 15 minutes after that first encounter.
At 4:15 a.m., the local sheriff's office answered a 911 call about the attack. Two campers next to Lokam's explained how they were awakened by the attack and scared the bear away with bear spray. Officials said they also believe the bear killed several chickens in a coop that same night.
Officials are still looking for the grizzly bear, which will be killed if found because of the public safety threat it poses. DNA evidence obtained at the scene will help them identify the correct bear.
While conflicts between grizzly bears and humans are on the rise in the Northern Rockies, fatal attacks are still rare. Tuesday morning's incident was the third in 20 years.
It's important to be vigilant when camping in a region known for its bear population. Never leave trash outside, and stuff your food in bear-proof containers or inside a car or RV. Don't bring any types of odors into your tent, including deodorants, soaps, candles, sunscreen, or insect repellant. Always keep the bear spray on you in case you need to use it.
What are other safety tips you practice when hiking and camping in bear country? Let us know in the comments.