Idaho Man who survived mauling by grizzly recounts ordeal (with April 15 update)

Man who survived mauling by grizzly recounts ordeal. Despite the brutality of the attack, Timothy Henderson says he doesn’t blame the bear. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman

This story gives us valuable information about what happened. The man who was mauled is a good guy and the newspaper tells how you can help him and his family.

Idaho Fish and Game efforts to trip the grizzly bear have not been successful, and many hope they won’t be.
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Update late on April 14: The grizzly bear has been killed. Scott MacButch tells the story. He was there. He also clears up a lot of other information about the area where this happened which has not been made clear by the media. Scott sent this as a comment. I moved it to part of the post. It follows:

This morning around 07:30 am the Grizzly that was involved in the recent mauling was killed by Idaho Fish & Game. It had been caught in a leg snare during the night and was bellowing most of the night, as my cabin is right next to where it was caught. When the Id Fish & Game arrived (along with the Sheriff & deputy) I expressed my hope that it could live and wished that it would have left. Do note that even Tim, the guy that got mauled wished it no harm, but they told me the decision had been made, that there was a remote chance that it might have rabies and that tests would be performed on the tissue. The bear was 350-400 lbs and it took 5 of us using all our strength using a sled to haul it up the wooded hill on the back of my property.

They will perform a necropsy today in ID Falls. There is no evidence that any cubs were around. There were no other tracks that I have been able to see, and they are pretty clear in the snow. I felt especially bad that it was a female. It had one broken canine and the other teeth, especially the incisors were very old, really ground down leading us to believe that it was a relatively old female, though I wonder if some of this wear was from it chewing on the steel cable during the night. Other than the teeth, the bear looked in good shape from coming out of hibernation.

Just to set a few facts straight, this is not a development or subdivision, I own 32 acres and have since the 1980’s. Yes, the Teton Valley is experiencing rapid growth, but the Targhee Forest is only 1/4 mile from my land, so this is not the case where some bear walked into a new subdivision.

The other notion that seems to be vented in these blogs, is that people that build up here don’t want to assume any risk. I know I may not representative of all my neighbors, but many of us are keen observers of wildlife, and care deeply about them. There are also several guides and backcountry skiers that live up Rammell Mtn road, and believe me, we know a few things about risks.

I guess one observation I could pass on concerning the mauling, would be that it occurred at around 08:30 pm. This and early morning are a time when bears become quite active, and a time that we should avoid walking in dense timber, though if my dog Pup was barking, I probably would have done the exact same thing, but I won’t any more. Tim had walked about 75 yards from his house when he was attacked, as I found blood there and down feathers.

I feel real bad for Tim, and it says something about his compassion and spirit about having no ill feelings toward the bear, but the fate of the bear was out of his hands.

Update of April 15. Idaho Statesman story by Rocky Barker. Interesting that unlike the previous reports, Barker says the bear was a male. Barker also also notes that there will be a lawsuit to stop grizzly delisting in the Greater Yellowstone.

Yes, we are going to sue. You can’t believe any promise from the corrupt Bush regime. They say they will conserve the grizzly bear like they said there were WMDs in Iraq and that they would respect and help the veterans. In the last 2 weeks 4 new scandals have emerged: the student loan scandal, the GSA scandal, and the Wolfowitz girlfriend scandal, the “lost” email scandal, to add to the on-going Dept. of Interior scandals, and the prosecuter purge scandal

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  1. Denise Johnson Avatar
    Denise Johnson

    I wonder what made the IDFG believe that the bear had rabies. Interested in the results from the necropsy.
    I have to APPLAUD Tim and Scott for their efforts in getting the facts out! People live in places like that because they have a great appreciation for the wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it. They understand what it takes for the lifestyle. Still _ _ it happens. A lot of the stories about people who have been attacked by grizzlies, the victims state they don’t blame the bear. Unfortunately the bears fate does not rest with them.
    After reading the article and Scott’s comments, I have the understanding that it was the dog that the grizzly was going for initially not Tim. And he ended up in the middle. Tim stated that his dog smelled from rolling in the dead moose. Dogs are a big attractant to large carnivores.
    I think in hind sight they will keep the dogs inside or tied close and out of harms way. Or carry pepper spray when they are checking out what the dogs are alarmed about. All you have to do is walk out the door to be in the thick of the wilderness. Easy to let your guard down.
    I hope Tim continues to recover, and am sorry he got mauled. I’m sorry that Scott had to hear the sounds of the grizzly bauling all night from being trapped too. Its ruff all the way around.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It talked with Lynda MacButch (Scott’s spouse) today at the Climate Action. She said they do carry pepper spray in the area when they go hiking, and most folks in the area are aware of the presence of black bears, but on the other hand Teton County (or maybe it’s Tetonia) has old fashioned (not bear proof) garbage containers at the bottom of the hill.

    Scott says it is really black bear country and grizzlies rarely seen. It isn’t a grizzly bear hangout like Rocky Barker said in the article.

    I don’t believe Fish and Game thought the bear could have had rabies because its actions were not at all unusual despite the mauling. It was a classic mauling.

    I think putting the bear down to test for rabies is a cover for politicians who wanted the bear put down.

    It’s too bad the when someone is injured it’s a nice guy like this carpenter who has an unobtrusive dwelling. They weren’t even staying there that night, but came back to pick up some items.

  3. Monte Avatar

    Ralph, I really enjoy your site and your comments, but I find myself wondering about your last comment. Whether the dwelling is “unobtrusive” or not is a matter of opinion, and should have nothing at all to do with a man being attacked by a grizzly. I suppose if he were a rich man with an obtrusive new house it would be less of a shame that he were mauled?

  4. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    Wildlife deserves wild places to live in. That said, any wild animal that attacks a human being needs to be euthanized. No person or gov. agency has the right to play “russian roulette” with the safety of the next human who is confronted by a wild creature who now views humans as potential prey or at least easily defeated habitat competitors.

  5. Vicki Avatar

    It’s a shame when anyone is mauled. It’s abd for the people and the animals involved. It’s too bad that the bear was killed. It may or may not have attacked again. We’ll never know. But, whatever kind of house he lived in, he built it in wild habitat. That comes with risks. I just wish that people would call a spade a spade. Rabies? Come on, the bear was shot because people were freakin’ out and scared.(maybe rightfully so, maybe not.) I have a hard time understanding how the pass it off as humane, when the animal sat there baulling and in fear all night. Humane would have been to shoot it as son as it was caught, not hours later.
    Ralph, how could they be sure this was the right bear? Did they have to kill it first or not? Would they have killed any bear who came into the area?

  6. Layton Avatar

    Just for grins, would someone please tell me WHERE the ever increasing population of humans DOES have a “right” to live?

    It really seems that, on this blog anyway, this creature called man is somehow the lowest creature on the food chain. Can someone explain this to me?

    All these years I’ve thought that we (yep, even the Canis worshipers) were at the top of the chain.


  7. MikeH Avatar

    Ralph I agree he sounds like a really nice person. But the fact remains he built a house 1/4 mile from the national forest. If everyone did that, rural areas would become the suburbs. I’m tired of the double standards some environmentalists have.

    That said, I wish the guy a full and quick recovery and best future health.

  8. MikeH Avatar

    After reading the story, I became aware that the place where he was attacked is a second home. If everyone had two homes, there would be no wild areas left. I can’t see these folks as big fans of the wild in all honesty.

  9. MikeH Avatar

    edit: Misstatement there. What I meant to say was “most places like this are second homes”, not specifically the nice guy who was attacked by the bear.

    I was their only home, but at the time they were staying in Driggs, down the valley a bit. Ralph

  10. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Layton – it isn’t that we don’t have a right to live where we live, it is that so few of us recognize that animals have fewer and fewer, if any, rights to live at all. We determine their fate, period. I don’t think we need to restrict human “rights”, per se, we just need more affirmative rights for those animals and places that cannot speak for themselves. I believe that is one of the fundammental motivating factors of the environmenal movement. However, it gets misunderstood in such a way that it appears human “rights” and animal “rights” are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that. I also don’t believe we are at the top of the chain – just another link. Grizzlies seem to do a pretty good job of reminding me of that…

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I get of of people saying, “I’m at the top of the food chain.” That just means they don’t know what the food chain is.

    If any person lived at top of the food chain, their diet would be hawk, cougar, shark, orca, fox, and no veggies at all.

    And that person would be so full of toxins they would likely not live to be very old.

  12. Drew in GA Avatar
    Drew in GA


    I have to disagree with you last statement – sorry!

    However – being at the top of the food chain means that you can select anything you want to eat (from the top to the bottom of the chain.) It is this ability to “select” that places you at the top dominant position.

  13. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    I can´t remember where I read it, but I once came over the lines….”and always remember, as soon as you leave your car [in wilderness areas] and hit the trail you´re no longer on top of the food chain – you are part of it!” Think it´s a very wise one, but many cannot accept this.

  14. Vicki Avatar

    When learning about fodd chains in school, (yep, long ago), the picture used to show how it worked was actually circular. It showed how everything in the chain was inter-dependent. The bear eats the fish who eats the bug that depends on the bear to knock down trees for it to nest in, etc. I guess it is true that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link…

  15. Vicki Avatar

    Peter, I remeber reading that, I believe it was in a Yellowstone Pamphlet I got years ago. I used it to keep my sister-in-law from taking her dog to Yellowstone. I told her it would either be bear bait, or puppy-stew in a geyser or hotspring. Then that next year I watched a guy get gored because a lady’s poodle ticked off a buffalo. It was sad.

  16. Sabrina Avatar

    I fully agree with you. The rabies card was definitely a political pillow. I don’t think there has ever been a case where a bear has had rabies. The only thing I can attribute to using this card is because of the case of the black bear that killed that small child. There was a woman, can’t remember her name, Linda Smith (?) and she went on and on about how bears don’t ever attack people (uh huh) and that the black bear HAD to have had rabies (which it did not, naturally) and that she insisted that they check the bear for rabies as there was just no way that bear would have done that inherently. So, I can’t help but think that NOW every time a bear is caught mauling a person that the “authorities” will use the rabies card as a means to kill the bear and this would justify it to the public. Note, that in order to check a bear for rabies, it has to be euthanized. Convenient and thanks a lot Linda (?).
    I would really like to know what happened. How does a bear go from being an old, no prior “convictions” female bear to a male “problem” bear? I can see, possibly, the mix up but it is suspicious. Also, how did they not initially see the ear tags when the man said he, himself hauled the bear out of the area?
    All I can figure is that an old, “docile” female is a lot harder to explain killing than a male, snarling, vandal, with a past record.

  17. Sabrina Avatar

    I was sent an article about a bear in Romania that had rabies.
    However, the bear mauled 8 people and killed one. Obviously something was amiss with the bear. A lone bear protecting his cache from a possible rival is not unusual. Why would they put up red flags with the possibility of rabies? Still odd to me.
    Thank you though, whoever you were!

  18. Sabrina Avatar

    TSK! It killed two.

  19. Sabrina Avatar

    Rumor has it that the bear was not transferred because the roads from private lands to public lands were inaccessible at the time. Helicopter? Well, maybe Idaho F&G do not have the funds to run a copter or the copters are not in service at the time? Just putting some stuff out there. Since no one is around, I suppose I’ll leave it alone over here.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan