News and Adventure from Glacier National Park
A grizzly bear was shot and killed Friday while Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff investigated the scene of a bear attack that happened Thursday near West Yellowstone.
Thursday’s attack involved a 40-year-old West Yellowstone man, who was mauled just south of the Baker’s Hole campground, about three miles north of West Yellowstone. He was transported to Idaho Falls for treatment of severe injuries. Over the weekend the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office announced that the man died from his injuries on Saturday morning.
FWP staff have not yet been able to talk with the man, who was alone during the bear encounter. The man had bear spray with him, but it’s unclear whether he was able to deploy it during the attack.
The U.S. Forest Service issued an emergency public-safety closure in the area Thursday afternoon. The closure remains in effect.
A group of seven investigators, including FWP game wardens and bear specialists, as well as Forest Service personnel, revisited the site Friday to assess ongoing public safety risks and continue the investigation.
They yelled and made continuous noise as they walked toward the site to haze away any bears in the area. Before they reached the site, a bear began charging the group. Despite multiple attempts by all seven people to haze away the bear, it continued its charge. Due to this immediate safety risk, the bear was shot and died about 20 yards from the group. The bear was an older-age male grizzly.
Investigators later found a moose carcass cached within 50 yards of Thursday’s attack. This indicates the bear was defending a food source during the attack.
Recreationists, residents and people who work outdoors can be prepared for a surprise bear encounter. Activities that are deliberately quiet or fast moving, such as hunting, mountain biking or trail running, put people at greater risk for surprising a bear.
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