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Grizzly Bear Attacks

Man Who Was Mauled By Grizzly Killed Bear, Game And Fish Kills Her Cubs

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A man who was mauled by a grizzly bear over the weekend near Cody actually killed the female grizzly that attacked him, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced Tuesday.

Around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the sheriff’s office’s communications division received a report from an injured hunter. The 45-year-old man told dispatchers that he had been mauled by a grizzly, sustained injuries and needed assistance.

The unidentified man had been elk hunting west of Cody and was attacked after a sudden encounter at close range with the female grizzly who had two cubs with her.

The injured hunter and his hunting partner killed the adult grizzly and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in coordination with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, later killed the two cubs, the Game and Fish Department said.

“The safety of outdoor recreationists is always at the forefront of our minds,” said Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith for Wyoming Game and Fish. “Our thoughts are with the individual who was injured and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service, also offered its condolences to the injured hunter.

“The service sends our thoughts to the injured individual as he recovers,” said Dan Coil, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The service partners with states to manage grizzly bears in grizzly country and appreciates Wyoming Game and Fish responding to the incident.”

The man was around five miles from U.S. Highway 14 when he called in the report of the attack. Upon notification, the Game and Fish Department immediately responded to the scene.

Park County Search and Rescue, a Guardian helicopter from Riverton and a Cody Regional Health ambulance were all immediately paged to respond. The injured hunter was transported out of the wilderness with the rest of his hunting party and met the search and rescue team Saturday morning near the Shoshone River. He was treated and then flown by helicopter to a Billings hospital.

His injuries are reported not to be life threatening.

The incident is still under investigation and under the direction of Fish and Wildlife.

Grizzly bears in Wyoming and the lower 48 states are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Service continues to work collaboratively with Wyoming and other states in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to manage grizzly bears.

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Man Mauled By Grizzly Near Cody Over Weekend

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A man was mauled by a grizzly bear near Cody over the weekend, the Park County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.

Around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the sheriff’s office’s communications division received a report from an injured hunter. The 45-year-old man told dispatchers that he had been mauled by a grizzly, sustained injuries and needed assistance.

He was around five miles from U.S. Highway 14 when he called in the report.

Park County Search and Rescue, a Guardian helicopter from Riverton and a Cody Regional Health ambulance were all immediately paged to respond. During this time, the injured hunter made the decision to ride out of the wilderness with the rest of his hunting party to meet emergency responders.

The search and rescue team contacted him around 9:30 a.m. on the north side of the Shoshone River. Thirty minutes later, the hunter and ground team arrived at the staging area and he was treated by emergency personnel.

He was transported by helicopter to Billings for further care.

The mauling is currently under investigation by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

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Grizzly With Cubs Attack Two Hikers in Montana

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Two people were injured late Tuesday when they were attacked by a grizzly bear in southwestern Montana, officials said.

Around 8:30 p.m., two men were hiking with a dog off-trail in the Bear Creek area southeast of Ennis, Montana when they encountered a sow grizzly bear with cubs at close range. Sows with cubs can be especially defensive in close encounters with people.

During the encounter, the two hikers were injured by the bear. However, they were able to use bear spray to defend themselves.

Both hikers were able to leave the attack site without assistance and received treatment for relatively minor injuries.

A game warden with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks investigated the scene of the attack on Wednesday with law enforcement staff from the U.S. Forest Service. The trail nearest the incident has been closed and signed temporarily as a precaution.

Other trails in this area have also been signed, advising visitors of the incident, but no further action will be taken.

Officials believe this attack was likely defensive in nature.

This is the second time in recent weeks that a grizzly has injured someone in Montana. Last month, a woman was killed by a grizzly while in her tent.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report this week regarding a West Yellowstone man who was killed earlier this year by a grizzly guarding a moose carcass. The grizzly in that incident was later killed after it charged wildlife investigators.

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West Yellowstone Man Found To Be At Fault For Fatal Grizzly Attack

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A West Yellowstone, Montana, man was ultimately found to be at fault for causing the fatal grizzly attack that resulted in his death earlier this year.

Charles “Carl” Wesley Mock, 40, was attacked by a grizzly bear on April 15 near the Baker’s Hole Campground, just outside of Yellowstone National Park two miles west of the Wyoming state line. He was alone and parked his vehicle at the campground entrance, both of which are well-posted with grizzly information.

A report on an investigation into the attack by officials from Wyoming, Idaho and Montana was released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The tragic event of Mr. Mock being attacked by an adult male grizzly bear and subsequently dying from the attack, was the direct result of Mr. Mock’s own purposeful or random placed proximity to a moose carcass that an adult male bear had cached and was actively feeding on,” the report said.

“A short time before the adult male bear attacked Mr. Mock it may have defended or claimed the  moose carcass from another grizzly bear. If so, this would have contributed to the bear’s  extended aggressive defense of the moose carcass,” the report said.

Mock died two days after the attack from complications due to his severe head and neck injuries.

Officials couldn’t say whether Mock purposely went to the site of the attack. He was in possession of fishing gear and a telephoto lens, and the closest point to the Madison River is about 400 yards northeast of the attack site.

An examination of Mock’s fishing gear showed he hadn’t been actively fishing at the time the attack occurred.

It is estimated Mock was in the area for less than 90 minutes, but it can’t be determined exactly how long he’d been at the site before being attacked. It also isn’t clear whether Mock came upon the animal feeding or if he was already at the site and the grizzly happened upon the moose carcass.

An empty cannister of bear spray was found at the scene and the bear carcass’ hair contained bear spray residue, so officials did determine Mock was definitely aware of the potential for grizzly encounters in the area. It is unclear at what point during the attack (if not before) Mock used the bear spray.

While the overall effects of the bear spray on the grizzly aren’t known, the bear did quit attacking Mock at some point. Mock moved away and called 911, but the bear remained agitated, close to the attack site and the moose carcass.

The grizzly was killed April 16 as it charged the investigation team.

“The unfortunate subsequent death of Mr. Charles (Carl) Mock caused by a grizzly bear attack…reinforces the inherent possibility of people being involved in a serious grizzly  bear encounter and the need for individuals to know and try to follow known safety recommendations,” the report said.

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Montana Wildlife Officials Kill Grizzly Suspected of Fatally Attacking Woman

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Montana wildlife officials shot and killed a grizzly bear early Friday morning that was believed to have dragged a woman from her tent in Montana earlier this week and killed her.

The bear was killed less than two miles from Ovando, a Montana town of fewer than 100 people and the place the woman was killed Tuesday morning.

“Last night, the Powell County Sheriff’s Office took a report from a resident who came home and found her door ripped off and large claw marks were present,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook Friday. “A short time later a male grizzly bear was killed in the area.”

The bear was killed after being caught raiding a chicken coop in an attack similar to one that occurred the night the woman was killed.

Given the proximity to Tuesday’s attack and the evidence found at the scene, Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks officials believe the bear killed was the same one that attacked the woman, who was staying in a tent outside of an Ovando museum the night she was killed. However, offiicials said confirming DNA analysis will take a few days.

“Based on the size of the bear, the color of the bear and the nature of the chicken coop raids, we’re confident we’ve got the offending bear,” FWP spokesman Greg Lemon told CBS on Friday morning.

“We hope to make positive identification within the next couple of days,” Powell County officials said. “Early indications are that this is likely the bear that was involved in Tuesday’s attack.”

On the night the camper was killed, a chicken coop in the Ovando area was raided by the bear. Another coop was raided by a bear on Wednesday night, about 48 hours after the attack in Ovando. FWP specialists set a trap at a third coop on Thursday and USDA Wildlife Services specialists were monitoring the trap Thursday night when the bear approached and was shot.

Wildlife Services specialists were assisting at the request of FWP officials, anticipating the bear would return to the coop. They used night vision technology to aid in shooting the bear.

DNA samples from the bear will be compared to samples taken from the scene of the fatal attack Tuesday to confirm it was the responsible bear.

In the meantime, FWP staff will remain vigilant and keep at least one trap set near the first chicken coop that was raided on the outskirts of Ovando.

According to the Powell County, Montana, Sheriff’s Office, three campers were spending the night in their tents outside of an Ovando museum Tuesday.

At approximately 3 a.m., a 400-pound male grizzly awakened the campers, but ran away.

The campers removed food from their tents and secured it in an area designated for food storage before going back to bed. While Lemon said this could have been a reason for the bear being interested in the victim’s tent, it was still unusual for it to be so aggressive.

A security camera at a business a block away captured footage of the bear at 3:15 a.m.

Fifteen minutes later, two people in a tent were awakened by screams as the grizzly returned and pulled the victim out of her tent.

The campers sprayed the grizzly with bear spray, causing it to retreat. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to CBS, the victim was a 65-year-old Chico, California, resident named Leah Davis Lokan.

According to CBS, Lokan was an experienced outdoorswoman and cyclist who was on a mountain biking trip. She and her party were camped by Ovando’s post office early Tuesday when she was attacked.

Friends described Lokan as a free spirit, competitive and adventuresome who was aware of the dangers she faced on the trip.

Lemon told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that one of the wildlife specialists’ biggest concerns about the bear was its lack of fear of people and populated areas, not a common trait in wild animals.

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Montana Wildlife Officials Concerned Killer Grizzly Didn’t Show Fear of People

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are concerned that a grizzly bear believed to be responsible for killing a woman earlier this week showed no fear of humans or populated areas in the hours before the attack occurred.

Greg Lemon, spokesman for the department, told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that officials are still looking for the grizzly that pulled the 65-year-old woman out of her tent Tuesday morning and killed her near Ovando, Montana.

“We’ve got traps out and some folks out in the area searching for him,” Lemon said. “We flew in helicopters around the area and looked on the ground, but we didn’t come up with anything.”

However, a video taken of the bear the night of the attack is of high enough quality that officials believe they could identify the bear when and if it is captured.

Plus, FWP officials have taken DNA samples from the victim, which can help them identify the bear.

Lemon noted it is incredibly rare for a bear to kill a person, especially unprovoked, adding that in his memory, the last time a bear attacked a person without provocation was a decade ago in a campground near Yellowstone National Park.

“In the vast majority of instances, the bears are doing what they normally do, such as protecting their cubs or a food source,” Lemon said. “It’s unfortunate when people get hurt, but most grizzly encounters don’t end in injury to the bear or the human.”

He added it was unusual the bear didn’t seem to have much fear of humans or populated places, since it came back to the campground after being chased away and also went into Ovando to look for other food sources.

According to the Powell County, Montana, Sheriff’s Office, three campers were spending the night in their tents outside of an Ovando museum Tuesday.

At approximately 3 a.m., a 400-pound male grizzly awakened the campers, but ran away.

The campers removed food from their tents and secured it in an area designated for food storage before going back to bed. While Lemon said this could have been a reason for the bear being interested in the victim’s tent, it was still unusual for it to be so aggressive.

A security camera at a business a block away captured footage of the bear at 3:15 a.m.

Fifteen minutes later, two people in a tent were awakened by screams as the grizzly returned and pulled the victim out of her tent.

The campers sprayed the grizzly with bear spray, causing it to retreat. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials said the bear at some point in the evening killed and ate several chickens after breaking into a chicken coop in the town.

The bear will be killed if FWP officials manage to catch him. If not, they will keep his DNA sample on file and hope there are no more aggressive encounters between the bear and livestock, pets or humans.

“This isn’t our typical response when we have a bear encounter, but given the circumstances and the bear’s behavior, this just isn’t acceptable,” Lemon said.

All campsites in Ovando will be closed until Sunday. 

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Grizzly Kills Camper In Montana, Officials Still Hunting For Animal

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A person was killed early Tuesday morning by a grizzly bear near a small town in northwestern Montana, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.

The bear still hadn’t been caught as of Tuesday morning. A video camera from a local business caught footage of a grizzly on Monday night, and a bear also got into a chicken coop in the area.

“There was an earlier contact with the bear prior to the event,” Sheriff Gavin Roselles told the Associated Press. “The bear basically came back into the campsite. It wandered into a campsite a couple different times.”

The attack occurred at about 3:30am near Ovando, a town of about 50 residents in Montana’s Blackfoot Valley area. Bears are common in the area.

Nearby campers called 911 during the attack and local medical personnel were unsuccessful in reviving the victim.

The bear left the scene, authorities said, after a camper in the area used bear spray.

“Our first concern is the community’s wellbeing. The next step is to find the bear,” FWP spokesman Greg Lemon said.

The identity of the victim was not immediately released and an investigation into the attack was being conducted Tuesday.

Officials didn’t say exactly where the attack occurred, but the local sheriff said other people were camping in the vicinity. Lemon also said the victim was part of a group on a bike trip.

“All indications are that this encounter was with a grizzly bear, and that a team of law enforcement and state wildlife specialists are searching for the bear,” Roselles told NBC Montana.

A team of wildlife and law enforcement personnel have begun a search for the grizzly near the town of Ovando.

“We have traffic control in place for crime scene management and we’re getting ready to look for the bear,” Roselles said. “We’ve alerted campsites in the immediate area, but we don’t anticipate threats to other people in the area. We’re not encouraging people to come into the area.”

In April, a backcountry guide was killed by a grizzly bear while fishing along the Yellowstone National Park border in southwestern Montana.

In 2016, an off-duty U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer was fatally mauled in the region after he collided with a grizzly while mountain biking in Flathead National Forest.

A young black bear was killed by Montana FWP officials in June after breaking into a home while its residents weren’t home.

A woman was killed by a black bear in Colorado earlier this year.

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Grizzly Attack Victim Says Grizzlies Are “Apex Killing Machines” & Need to be Delisted

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Shanun Rammell and his wife had chased the grizzly off of their property twice in a yearlong span before the attack.

And after the attack, Rammell is convinced the bears don’t need the protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act.

“You get a lot of people who think these are cute, cuddly teddy bears, but they’re apex killing machines,” he told Cowboy State Daily.

“This is a problem and (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) are here to protect the bears at all costs,” he continued. “This isn’t a grizzly’s habitat anymore.”

The Montana native lives in a secluded area of Choteau, Montana. When he got a tip from a neighbor last summer that the bear was back on his land a third time, he went looking for it.

He confronted the bear in an abandoned shed on his property, and thankfully lived to tell the tale, something not every person who encounters a grizzly can attest to.

The bear threw him around like a ragdoll, all while his wife and one of his 10 children were watching.

His wife, Jamie Rammell, tried to run over the bear with their vehicle, but it ran off when it heard the engine turn over.

Nine days later, the bear returned, coming close to attacking one of Rammell’s daughters.

“I was in a Fish and Game truck after the bear attacked my daughter and they wouldn’t kill the bear,” Rammell said. “He’s still out, wandering around. I haven’t seen him, but one of my neighbors saw him around Thanksgiving.”

The attack on Rammell was one of the few bear attacks to take place in far-eastern Montana in more than 100 years.

For nearly a year, Rammell has been working with Montana legislators to help get the grizzly bear taken off the endangered species list, noting how the species is no longer threatened and is actually found in abundance in the region.

“There’s just way too many of them,” he said. “When they’re cruising 50 miles away in the prairie, there’s a problem. All they do now is kill cattle and sheep and tear barn doors off to get to grains.”

Many Wyoming officials agree with Rammell about delisting grizzlies, but they probably haven’t been as close to a grizzly’s claws as he has.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that no change be made to the to the grizzlies’ status as threatened under the Endangered Species Act for at least five years.

But Wyoming officials maintain the recommendation is not based in the reality of what is happening with the bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

“The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem bear population is booming, growing from as few as 136 bears during early recovery periods to potentially more than 1,000 in the ecosystem today,” said Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s recommendation to leave the bears on the list came after a thorough review of the best available science, the agency said in a statement, which was informed by an independently peer-review species status assessment.

The recommendation did confirm that grizzly populations in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems are biologically recovered. However, the five-year status review would allow for assessment of the species as a whole across the 48 contiguous states.

The assessment will evaluate the species’ current needs, conditions and threats, as well as modeling future scenarios. The remaining challenges with their threatened status include limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-caused mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grizzlies were originally listed as threatened in 1975 and then removed from the endangered species list in 2017 by the Fish and Wildlife Service, which cited a significant increase in bear populations.

However, in 2018, a federal court reversed the agency’s decision.

Rammell called the decision to keep the grizzlies on the endangered species list “all politics.”

He has seen the damage that has been done to the species by trying to keep them on the threatened list (such as overpopulation and a lack of food), and believes states need to manage the bear population.

“It’s all about who you know,” he said. “My daughter is still having nightmares about the attack.”

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Two Grizzlies Killed in Separate Incidents With Archery Hunters in Northwest Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of two grizzly bears in separate confrontations with bow hunters in northwestern Wyoming.

In a news release issued Monday, the department said on Thursday night, a man who was archery hunting for elk in the Thorofare area was attacked and injured by a grizzly.

The bear was killed in the incident. The hunter was airlifted to a local hospital and received treatment.

In an incident on Saturday, a grizzly charged an archery hunter on Rattlesnake Mountain west of Cody. The bear was killed in the incident, but the hunter was uninjured.

Because grizzly bears are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Game and Fish coordinates extensively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on any grizzly bear-related conflicts.

None of the grizzly skirmishes in Wyoming this year have ended with human fatalities. The last major report of a grizzly and human encounter in the state was in the Cody area back in July.

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Man Follows Park Service Advice & Helps Friend Attacked By Grizzly Rather Than Pushing Him Down

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Just last month the National Park Service advised people not to push their friends down in front of a bear if they are attacked.

That advice apparently works.

Two archery hunters from Idaho came upon a grizzly bear on Friday morning and one started to get mauled.

Instead of ensuring his friend was down on the ground and then running away, his friend decided — just like the Park Service advised — to help instead.

What makes this story even more bizarre is that this bear attack appears not to have been started by idiotic behavior of humans.

Unlike the Montana man who went searching for a grizzly bear in an abandoned barn (he found it) or the Montana woman who wasn’t paying attention while trail running and literally bounced off a grizzly, these two hunters appeared not to have done anything overwhelmingly stupid.

In fact, the Idaho Fish and Game Department credits the archery hunters for how they handled the situation: they were prepared.

The department said the victim (hunter #1) was pursuing an elk in a remote area of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest when he and his hunting companion (hunter #2) encountered the bear in thick brush.

Although you are supposed to be loud in grizzly country to not surprise a bear (Montana man: please take note), it kind of defeats the purpose when you are hunting — because you also alert the animal you’re hunting.

Regardless, the grizzly apparently went after hunter #1 who was able to deploy his bear spray right before he got knocked to the ground.

Following National Park Service advice of not pushing your friend down in front of the bear and running away, hunter #2 actually helped his buddy.

“The hunting companion came to his aid and deployed his own bear spray canister, shortening the duration of the attack and causing the bear to flee the area,” the department said.

“Their preparedness and use of bear spray allowed both hunters to walk out of the backcountry on their own accord to call for help,” they said.

As for the health of the hunter, he’ll be ok, apparently. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

To warn other visitors of bear in the bear country, the department is putting up signs to let them know there are bears present in the bear country.

Hopefully the signs will alert people who are in bear country that there are bears in the bear area.

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