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.