By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An Illinois woman had been charged with disturbing wildlife this week after she was caught on video getting too close to bears in Yellowstone National Park in May.
Samantha R. Dehrin, 25 of Carol Stream, Illinois, was charged with one count of willfully remaining, approaching and photographing wildlife within 100 yards and one count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife. She faces up to one year in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Dehring is expected to appear in front of U.S. District Court Magistrate Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming on Thursday, Aug. 26, for her arraignment.
According to the violation notices, Dehring was at Roaring Mountain within the park on May 10 when visitors noticed a sow grizzly and her three cubs. Other visitors slowly backed away and got into their vehicles, but Dehring remained to take pictures.
The sow bluff charged Dehring, which was captured on video and in photos. This helped lead to her identification.
According to the National Park Service, a bluff charge is the more common type of charge and is meant to scare or intimidate. If a bluff charge is about to happen, a person is supposed to slowly back away from the bear while waving their arms above their head and speaking to the bear in a calm voice.
People should not run when a bear bluff charges, because it may trigger the animal to attack.
Yellowstone rangers shared the results of their investigation to rangers in Illinois, who served Dehring with the violation notices in person.
She is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by Yellowstone National Park Rangers and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick.