Skip to main content

Grand Teton will take no action against grizzly that attacked visitor

News Letter Journal - Staff Photo - Create Article
Via the Wyoming News Exchange

JACKSON (WNE) — Grand Teton National Park will take no action against a grizzly bear that attacked a visitor, officials say.

“We are not considering any management actions,” Chief of Staff Jeremy Barnum said. “It’s pretty clear in talking to the person who was injured and based on the site investigation that this was a surprise encounter and that the bear, likely a sow, responded defensively because she had at least one cub.”

According to Grand Teton National Park records, the attack Sunday is the seventh since Teton park was founded in 1929.

The fact that park rangers have determined the bear acted “defensively” is also significant.

When it comes to bear attacks, biologists view attacks in self-defense differently than even rarer acts of predation. Grizzly or black bears that pursue or stalk humans are often killed. But bears that swipe or maul a human that surprises them are often spared that fate.

On Sunday the Massachusetts man was hiking through a forested area, carrying bear spray and intentionally making noise based on bear safety information Teton park had posted. When he saw a smaller bear in close proximity running away, he reached for his bear spray and was simultaneously charged by a larger bear, according to a park report on the incident provided to the News&Guide.

The victim was able to remove his bear spray from his holster but didn’t have time to let it loose because of how quickly the larger bear approached. The bear hit the man several times and ultimately punctured the bear spray can. After that, the bears left.

The man was discharged from the local hospital Monday and is expected to make a full recovery.

The park does not know what bears were involved and may never know for certain.

This story was published on May 22, 2024.

--- Online Subscribers: Please click here to log in to read this story and access all content.

Not an Online Subscriber? Click here to subscribe.

Sign up for News Alerts

Subscribe to news updates