Elk hunter injuries said “not life threatening”-

This story has been developing all afternoon. The National Parks Traveler is the account that has the most details that I have found so far; but none of these stories point out that he was hunting in the general area where famous grizzlys 399 and 610 have been foraging.  Most folks will hope they were not involved.

Elk Hunter In Grand Teton National Park Injured By Bear. National Parks Traveler. Submitted by Kurt Repanshek on October 30, 2011 – 5:46pm

Update: A little more info. Grand Teton bear bites hunter. By Richard Anderson, Jackson Hole Daily.

Update 2: It was a grizzly bear. The hunter is in good condition. “He reported that the bear bit him a couple times and might have swiped him,” Grand Teton National Park  spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles reported.


About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

76 Responses to Bear attacks elk hunter in area where GB’s 399 and 610 have been foraging (updated)

  1. Mike says:

    Well done. One of the few of these types of stories where the hunter has bear spray and seems to understand bear country rules.

  2. Savebears says:

    I would like to believe that he was carrying bear spray because he wanted to, but just a note, hunters are required by rules to carry spray in this area during the hunting season.

  3. WM says:

    Interesting dilemma created by the swuggestion (or is it a requirement?) to carry bear spray while hunting in GT Park. If it is suggested/required to have it per park rules to hunt, then use the rifle which you have for your hunting purpose of being in the Park, will the federal government choose to prosecute if the rifle is used in self defense over the bear spray?

    We have discussed before, here, the necessity of needing both hands free for the effective deployment of one or the other. In those final moments when life dependent decisions are made, which does the hunter deploy (rifle or bear spray), and what are the consequences of the choice – right or wrong- for the circumstances?

    It will be interesting to see what went through this hunter’s mind and more specific facts. Note, the article does not say he ACTUALLY USED the bear spray.

    • Immer Treue says:

      In one of the comments, at close quarters, it seems one has a statistically better chance at not getting attacked/survival deploying spray vs using the rifle, wounding the animal and then getting attacked by a really pissed off bear.

      This individual thought fast and probably survived in this type of situation because of his immediate action.

      • WM says:

        Drop, cover and be bitten. We still don’t know whether it was a grizzly or black, AND the size of the bear, how close, or what motivated it to attack and then to stop.

        Informed decision, or luck? I am inclined to say the jury is still out on this one, Immer. This hunter may not have had the time or opportunity to rationally consider his choices.

        I had a very close encounter with a huge boar black bear while elk hunting four years ago in ID. I heard what sounded like antlers working over a sapling I could not see on the other side of a large blow down tree on a steep slope. It was very close. I was ready for what I thought was a bull elk. I approached around the end of the root wad and the bear and I met, close enough for me to reach out and touch it (5-7 feet?). The startled expression on the bear’s face is etched in my memory. I still see the coarse individual hairs on his neck and muzzle, and his eyes. After seeing me, he just kept going.

        He slowly walked away at a 90 degree angle from me, and the axis of the tree, stopped at a distance of about 15-20 feet, and looked over his shoulder directly at me for about three seconds. He then silently walked on. Not sure who was more suprised. The other thing I remember was the quietness of his passing, and the size and texture of the fleshy pads and claws of those huge feet, as he walked away. Beautiful animal, and an incredible experience, I would not have had but for the fact I was in the woods hunting, off trail.

        When I think this through, even if I had bear spray there would have been no chance to deploy it if circumstances warranted. The rifle (7mm Rem. mag), on the other hand (no pun intended), was at the ready about waist high with the safety off. I often think of that experience, and what if?

        • Mike says:

          It takes just as much time to unholster bear spray and use it then it does to raise your rifle and fire off a shot. not only that, your going to get much more coverage with the spay, and increase your hit rate.

          • WM says:

            OK Mike, if the hunter drops the rifle and makes some quick moves for the bear spray, gloves, heavy clothing maybe a pack which are all cumbersome and very likely to slow one down, then what? You may have just done the things a predator believes are acts of an injured or fleeing animal.

            Again, you’re way over your skill level and knowledge base. Waaaayyyyy over!

          • JEFF E says:

            @ WM

          • Mike says:

            WM –

            I spend far more time amongst grizzly bears than you do. You keep making this bogus claim that a hunter has no time to use bear spray because they’re carrying a rifle. Hikers frequently use dual hiking staffs and have on a 40-50 pound pack, but have no trouble using bear spray, rendering your argument pointless, if not also lazy.

          • Mike says:

            WM’s cowboy mentality is an eloquent example of why so many hunters do it wrong.

            The first error in this logic is thinking you’re a world class shot. Many hunters have this attitude, even if they’re not. Suggesting they put down their weapon is almost like a woman telling them they aren’t “big enough”. There’s a sense of shame and a blow to the confidence. “How dare they suggest I put my rifle down in favor of bear spray? I know how to shoot”, etc etc. We can all read that emotional response like a 2nd grade workbook.

            The second error is thinking that they can put down a charging grizzly, even if they do get a nice shot off. Sure, you have a good shot if you’re in open tundra and have expert training with a firearm. But good luck if the bear is at all close to you. What you’ll end up doing is injuring it, and pissing the bear off even more. It is the hunter’s ego that leads him to believe he can take out such a fast, powerful animal at close range in forested conditions.

            Following rules and executing responsible, ethical behavior involves *ego release*, and that’s just not easy to do for many hunters. Learning to drop your gun and use a more effective tool is part of that process. WM is still hung up.

        • Immer Treue says:


          You brought up something about your Filson cruiser. I have been making the transition away from synthetics, and back to natural fibers over the past 10-15 years. I’ve got a couple Filson vests I live in, and needless to say like. Some of the other “stuff” I’ve got from Filson runs either large or small, so no more through the mail. I’ve got some Johnson Mills wool shirts I like, but they don’t have the “substance” of the cruisers. Any input would be welcome. A place up here carries Filson, but my size always disappears before I get into the shop.

          • Elk275 says:


            I bet you that I spend more time in grizzly county than you, but what difference does it make. I live in grizzly bear country.

        • WM says:


          If you go back to the early part of this discussion the choice was between a rifle in one’s hand, or the bear spray one would have to retrieve and deploy from wherever it is on your person. The first is clearly faster, if the rifle is at the ready to start. Which is more effective will depend on the situation. My comment was directed at speed, and the decision process of making the right choice quickly.

          You changed the sideboards on the issue, and come off with something else entirely. This happens alot when you are in the conversation.

          I didn’t say the bear had to be shot. The concussion from a muzzle blast (it will be very uncomfortable air pressure on the ears, even if you do not intend to shoot the animal) and the loud noise is often enough to turn a grizzly bear, and nobody gets hurt. The bear figures this is not a meal, and maybe not a threat to mess with.

          I have mentioned before my cousin, a surveyor and road engineer in MT, has had to do this twice with grizzlies on NF land, in self-defense using a large bore pistol. He made the decision not to lay down, for good reason because he was fifteen miles away from the end of a road, and nobody was going to come to his rescue with a wheeled gurney, within the hour. This was before bear spray was available.

          By the way, AK fishing guides seem to do this with some regularity when confronted with problem bears at reasonably close distance. The bears don’t like the concussion/noise for good reason, and nobody gets hurt.

    • Mike says:

      Hikers have to drop hiking staffs to use the bear spray, so hunters can do the same with their rifles. It’s not complicated.

      • Elk275 says:


        A hiking staff is cheap, the rifle I used was custom made for me and I am not going to drop a $2500 rifle on the ground. No one drops their rifle on the ground, period.

        Hunting in the late fall is different than hiking in the summer. One has a heavier pack, a heavy hunting coat, orange vest, spare ammo and maybe a pistol on their belt. Bear spray is generally kept on the belt and with my heavy coat and pack it would take sometime to deploy.

        • JEFF E says:


        • Immer Treue says:


          $2500 rifle or possibly your life if you can’t get off that “one” shot.

          Once more, in this particular case the guy had time to do neither, used his head and got bit, but is still alive.

        • Mike says:


          A hiking staff is cheap, the rifle I used was custom made for me and I am not going to drop a $2500 rifle on the ground. No one drops their rifle on the ground, period. ++

          You’re letting ego get in the way of common sense again, WM. This is the “cowboy attitude” I mentioned earlier. When I hike the densest grizz country in the lower 48, I have on a pack, a hiking staff, and a lens and camera worth twice as much as your rifle. If I’m charged, damn right I’m dropping my gear so I can effectively use my spray. My life is worth much more to me than any material item.

          • WM says:

            Presumably you intended the comment for Elk275, since it was his remark you quoted.

            I have no problem discarding a rifle, regardless of its value, if an alternative providing greater safety is available, including the spray. I would not initially be inclined to drop to the ground to be mauled UNLESS there was no time – say a rifle was slung over a shoulder. No time for bear spray either.

          • Mike says:

            Sorry WM, that was meant for Elk. Too much sugar from the candy.

        • STG says:

          I keep my bear spray on my day/or backpack belt. It slips out of its cover easily. I have practiced removing it quickly. I encountered a female black bear with two cubs and winter kill about a one and a half years ago. I got the spray out in a hurry, ready to go if she charged. I was lucky–she didn,t. Needless to say, I left the area immediately. This year I had an encounter with a mountain lion in the parking lot of a front country, popular mountain biking trail. Again, I quickly got my spray out and was ready if the lion went after me. I don’t know what data there is on the effectiveness of bear spray on mountain lions, but I was glad I had it. Since I don’t own a gun or know how to use one, bear spray is my only option. It is a good choice for me. I rarely see hikers carrying bear spray. Many of them have a cavalier attitude and act like the forests are their personal play grounds with Bambi like wildlife. I have respect for and a realistic fear of wildlife. I always carry bear spray when I travel on front country or backcountry trails.

          • Savebears says:

            Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, recommends having bear spray for lions as well.

    • Savebears says:


      You do not need to use two hands to effectually deploy bear spray, despite what some have said. I have no problem dropping my weapon to deploy spray and it can be deployed from the hip if needed, I carry my bear spray on my right hip.

      And yes, for the elk reduction hunt, it is not only a recommendation, it is a rule, you have to have bear spray, this individual did not have the opportunity to deploy it.

  4. Jeff says:

    You are required to carry bear spray in GTNP if you are hunting. He did not spray, he had a can, he immediately hit the ground and rolled up in a ball. No time to spray, gloves on etc…He didn’t shoot either. It is easy to second guess someone from the sideline, but in a few seconds things just happen. No matter what we try to do, run ins will occur, there are risks going outside in NW Wyoming and elsewhere where big animals roam.

    • jdubya says:

      Sounds like he dropped his $2,500 rifle in order to save his life. What was he thinking????

  5. CodyCoyote says:

    The JH Daily story says that 15 people ( rangers, bear wranglers, and others not described) were first responders to this incident, which the vic cellphoned in almost immediately. Fifteen plus ?!?! – I’m calling that an over-response.

    I’m not Monday morning quarterbacking here. That never changes the outcome of the game. Just saying that all these ” mutual aid” types need to have a predetermined playbook that would among other things keep the incursion of more humans into a bear conflict incident at a minimum , at least initially . Seems like pouring a lot of people onto a scene without much good information to go by only increases the probability of more conflict, which the bear(s) usually suffer from and pay the ultimate price.

    The public lands rulemakers and especially Park Service admins lay down all these rules for us public folk to strictly here to, but I ask if they need some more proportional internal regulations as well. Instead of 15-20 folks coagulating onto a bear incident seen with guns off safety , perhaps a ” Tiger Team” of a small squad of first reponders would be more judicious for both human and bear safety. If even half those 15-20 responders headed into the woods , I see great risk of a secondary conflict until the All Clear was given. This isn’t paramilitary counterinsurgency; it’s wildlife management.

    I wasn’t there. Just lobbing an opinion over the fence.

  6. SAP says:

    Cody – you’re going to need 6 litter bearers, maybe 2 EMT/medical attendants minimum. Responders don’t know in advance what the terrain is like or the severity of the patient’s injuries. Considering that it was fairly close to park HQ on a nice day, I would expect a fairly large turnout and that’s what they got.

    Also, a large contingent moving together to the scene would be a lot of eyes and ears and noise. That would keep everyone safer and probably — with an unknown bear of unknown motivation — help keep the bear from returning to the patient.

  7. Wolfy says:

    A lot better than shooting his hunting partner in the chest! All speculation aside, this should be seen as a “win-win”. And we don’t get many of those with these types of encounters. The bear always loses in the end.

  8. The article said they couldn’t tell whether the bear was defensive or predatory. . are you kidding me? The man dropped to the ground and the bear bite and left. That is not a predatory bear unless the man tasted so bad that one nibble was all the bear needed. Also they describe a close surprise encounter which is also not a predatory response. As for the pepper spray debate . . geeeesh. It takes one hand and 4 seconds to deploy pepper spray. . yes I have practiced and timed it. If you transfer your rifle to your left hand tucking it under your left arm to steady it if necessary, reach across your chest to your pepper spray which is mounted on a strap across your left shoulder, thumb off the safety and spray. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four. Done. If you practice you can get it down to 3 seconds. (This assumes you are right handed, of course you would do it backwards if not.) Reaching across for the spray keeps it clear of your jacket and stuff and makes it so you can then just straighten your arm out while you flip off the safety with your thumb and spray. It doesn’t matter if you get some on you by the way as it will treat the bear far worse with it’s sensitive nose than it will you and you will get over it. Your adrenalin will be so high you won’t even notice your eyes stinging and your nose running.

    • WM says:


      While rifle carries vary, the most common way is both hands in front, with one on the stock near the trigger and the other on the forearm. Total time to raise from waist level to shoulder and simultaneously take the safety off and discharge a round is less than a half second (closer to 1/3 second). It is intuitive. No transferring, fumbling, etc.

      A target with a rifle at 35 feet – the same as bear spray- doesn’t even really require target acquisition time. If the target is more than that distance, it takes time to acquire the target, and a scope can be a problem. Bear spray also requires target acquisition time, sight down the small tube, and I think it is MUCH tougher to control with one hand than you describe, if you intend an accurate shot of the stream of the stuff at a distance.

      A revolver in a holster on belt or chest, with a short barrel of 6 inches or less is an entirely different scenario, and on par with the time it takes to deploy bear spray, maybe longer. A revolver would definitely take longer to acquire the target than a rifle.

      • Savebears says:


        It is not a stream, it is an expanding cloud, that can be up to 30 feet in diameter in a very short time. There is no real target acquisition, due to the nature of the spray head. I am highly trained and taught urban combat tactics while in the Military, I will take the spray every single time..

      • ma'iingan says:

        Most “surprise” bear attacks, like the one described in this story, take place in a second-and-a-half. If you have to unholster your spray, or your revolver, or whatever, forget it.

        And hiking poles in high-density bear areas can be more trouble than they’re worth. They induce hikers to spend far too much time looking at the ground, and many hikers loop the straps around their wrists, further encumbering themselves.

        I have a UDAP chest holster, probably the quickest way to use spray – but I’m not confident that I could deploy it in a second-and-a-half.

        If you’re not expecting a bear, and you have only have a second-and-a-half to deploy a repellent or firearm, I don’t think it matters what you’re carrying for protection.

        • Savebears says:

          When hunting in Grand Teton at this time of year, you should be expecting a bear situation, I know when I go out this weekend here around the house, I will be expecting an encounter. This time of year, it happens more than you think.

        • Immer Treue says:


          Gosh, but when I started using hiking poles, it actually allowed me to get my eyes off the ground. It was as if I had an extra set of legs.

      • Savebears says:


        On the rare occasions I rifle hunt, I do not use the carry you are talking about, normally, I use a left arm cradle carry, which allows quick access to my bear spray on my right hip. Every once in a while, I carry with it up on my shoulder, as well as on my left shoulder in the sling.

        • WM says:


          Not to put too fine a point on it, but cradle carry for the purpose of keeping your dominant hand near the bear spray would seem to reduce reaction time to raise the rifle to shooting position. Good for the bear safety application you intend and might need, but maybe not so much for the hunting part.

          For quick reaction while hunting animals on the move, from my experience cradle carry does not work so well in the brush either, when you have to step over or through thick vegetation, or even on steep ground. There, the instinct is to shift the rifle to the dominant hand balanced at the receiver, just ahead of the trigger guard, so you can stoop over or keep better balance, or possibly use the ready carry described earlier.

          I mention this because some hunters are spending more time now in the brush and on steeper ground, because the elk/deer are there more often, staying away from wolves. For a bear encounter in the brush one would think the rifle would shift to the non-dominant hand, so you could still get the bear spray with the dominant one. You would have to remind yourself of this.

          And, yes, having tried the spray only once I will admit, I understand the expanding aerosol/fog aspect, but you still need the stream of the stuff to go the right direction, meaning if the bear is at fifteen feet rather than thirty when you apply it, you need to have greater control.

          • Savebears says:


            I have cradle carried since I was a kid, living in this country, it is a very safe as well as effective carry as I don’t take snap shots in tight brush. When I shoot, I intend to kill, snap shots in close brush is a risky shot at best.

            There is no stream to bear spray, it starts as a fog out of the can and continues to expand from the release of the trigger, All of the current EPA registered bear sprays work this way, there is no streaming at all, it starts as an atomized cloud and just continues to expand, that is why it is called a shotgun patten cloud burst spray at 15 feet, it is going to be approximately 15 feet in diameter..at 1 foot, it is going to be about 1 foot in diameter.

            I, as well as all of the people in my military units carried the exact same product can, only with a human formulated product in the can, believe me, I have used the exact same deployment system hundreds of times over the years. Crowd control pepper sprays are exactly the same deployment system, they use it in prisons for the same reason.

          • Savebears says:

            By the way, when I am in thick brush, I carry at the receive area of the firearm or my boy with my left hand, of course I am trained a whole lot more than most in close contact situations..

          • Cobra says:

            I tend to agree savebears, I’ve used all methods of carry and I think in an attack situation I would use the spray first. Even blackbears can pack a lot of lead before they die and that extra second or two could make for a bad outcome.

  9. TetonBadger says:


    I heave heard through the Jackson grapevine locally that the bear bit him on the shoulder and that he is doing really well.

    This story makes it sound like a lone grizzly! So maybe its not 610 or 399! Maybe its the male griz that’s been hanging around the area…

  10. Nancy says:

    Wow! 27 responses and all of them (I think) from people with experience when it comes to hunting or hiking in wilderness areas.

    Given the increase in bear encounters, maybe a lightweight harness, that fits over heavy coats or adjusts to lighter wear, making bear spray front and center, middle of the chest for a quick response to a sudden, unespected encounter – might be a good thing?

    • ma'iingan says:

      …”a lightweight harness, that fits over heavy coats or adjusts to lighter wear, making bear spray front and center, middle of the chest for a quick response to a sudden, unespected encounter –”

      Some spray manufacturers offer chest holsters – mine’s from UDAP, but I imagine there are other brands as well.

      • Nancy says:

        Ma’iingan – be nice if that kind of setup for spray is promoted, since I continue to read about how hard it is to get the spray out and ready vs wounding or killing an animal.

        • Savebears says:


          Pretty much every sporting goods store in the grizz areas carry chest holsters, hangs on the shelf right next to the bear spray. Even with the belt holster, it is not hard to deploy..

          • Savebears says:

            I am really surprised that so many that hunt and recreate in bear country, seem to know so little about the carry systems that have been available for a long time!

    • Savebears says:

      There are already light weight holster’s on the market that have enough flexibility to wear over heavy coats. UDAP and Counter Assault both sell them.

      I choose to wear a hip holster either on my regular belt when it is warmer or on my web belt over my coat when colder, due to drawing a bow with chest holster can present some problems.

    • Elk275 says:


      Every several years Mystery Ranch or the former Dana Designs pack company in Bozeman has a seconds sale. I purchased a 3 day assault pack last May that now is my main hunting pack. I went back to the company and discussed the bear spray issue. I ask them if they made or are planning to make an apparatus that would vacillate the carrying of bear spray. The answer was no, they had not even thought of it.

      • Savebears says:


        Actually there are already modules for many of the pack systems that will work for bear spray, look at the modules that many of the photography companies make, they are designed for camera lenses, but there are quite a few that will also fit a can of bear spray quite nice.

        • Elk275 says:


          Mystery Ranch sells 70% of there packs to the military, 15% to hunters, 5% to firefighters and 10% to backpackers. When I was inquiring about where to carry bear spray, I thought that the best place for the canister would be on the left pack strap. The pack designers said that the military does not want any thing attached to the pack straps. In war movies soldiers always carried grenades on the pack straps. What is the deal now.

          I did not have any trick or treaters and I did not buy any treats, so I am spared the job of eating several bags of candy.

          • Savebears says:


            I know what the military wants, and I also know what worked, all of the men in my units, were shown the non-approved, keep your self alive way of packing protection, screw the brass that hung out behind an office. One of these days, we will have to meet up and I can show ya some various solutions.

            No Tricks, No Treats around here either, in 15 years, I have had two, they were indeed hearty souls, and have both now graduated college and got the heck out of Montana!


          • JB says:

            “I did not have any trick or treaters and I did not buy any treats, so I am spared the job of eating several bags of candy.”

            Send my your address and I’ll mail you a bag…or two. 😉

        • SAP says:

          Geez, all our free market wizardry has gone into Collateralized Debt Obligations, and we can’t come up with a good way to carry bear spray? 😉

          I really like UDAP & Counterassault’s sprays. I am not such a big fan of their rinkydink holsters. For those of us who are out in bear country a lot, I think we can come up with a better carry system.

          For hunters, in particular, there has to be something better. The horizontal belt-mounted holsters are too limiting when you start putting on extra clothes, packs, and whatever else. The chest rig . . . well, youve already got a heavy coat, maybe a bino harness, a rifle sling . . . starts getting pretty complicated.

          Here’s what I’m going to start messing with:


          We use these on fires to hold radios, but we’re also looking for a way to carry bear pepper spray on some fire calls nowadays. No reason why a skilled seamstress couldn’t just attach one of those elastic sleeve holsters to one of these. It should integrate nicely with backback straps, so it would just be part of your hunting pack then. Carried diagonally across your chest, it won’t interfere with tool use nor would it get in the way of shouldering a rifle.

      • WM says:


        I am guessing since Dana Gleason now has some military gov’t MOLLE Special Ops contracts they have pushed some of their civilian stuff aside. My favorite big load pack is still an old TerraPlane I have had forever. That was before K2 bought the Dana brand and trashed it with cheap crap made in Viet Nam.

        • Virginia says:

          We have been carrying Dana day packs and back packing packs for 20 years and been so happy with them. I bought a new Mystery Ranch day pack made just for small women and I hate it! Sad day when Dana sold out(off topic, I know). Also, I am a hiker who carries bear spray and do not own or know how to use a gun.

          • SEAK Mossback says:

            I agree on the Dana Design packs. My wife and I were both very fortunate to pick up Astralplane and Terraplane packs at close-out prices just before the company was sold to Marmot where quality was substantially downgraded. It looks like some of the current Mystery Ranch packs are very similar but more expensive. As far as carrying rifles, we have set up both packs with very simple, convenient Kifaru carriers that hold a rifle abreast and release it very quickly and freely into your hands with the pull of a strap. It keeps both hands free for steep terrain or to deploy pepper spray.

          • WM says:


            Just to keep the facts accurate, Dana sold to K2, who got cute and started manufacturing products offshore with bad quality control. K2, in turn, sold the Dana brand to Marmot (whose products I have always found to be top quality), who then got stuck with the K2 ownership period warranty problems and the bad reputation. I had another pack from that time period that had to be serviced by Marmot. Dana (Gleason) went back into business as Mystery Ranch in MT, with some new product designs, that had the quality and durability for which his stuff was known.

          • Immer Treue says:

            Got my TerraPlane in mid 90’s. Bomb proof but a bit on the heavy side which steered some folks away. Probably why whoever bought Dana out, tried to do something to lighten it up just a tad. A great pack!

  11. Many bears in GTNP have been darted, drugged, ear-tagged and radio collared. They are often cracker-shelled and bean-bagged as well.
    These are angry, frightened bears and are a threat to anyone who encounters them. If this bear is found to be one that has be abused by researchers(radio collared, etc.), the injured man should file charges against the park and any involved staff.
    The wife of the 70 year old killed by the drugged and radio collared Grizzly near Cody last year, is suing the government and the negligent biologists involved for the wrongful death of her husband for 5 million. I think she will win her lawsuit.

    • STG says:

      Agree. Hypermanagement (studied to death) of wildlife to the detriment of the animals.

    • mad says:

      I disagree that the wife has a good case. There are well-defined, written protocols for the trapping, drugging and handling of various species, especially large mammals. If these biologists followed those guidelines, and it can also be shown that the hiker-botanist had been forewarned of a bear in the area and there were signs posted in the area, the burden of proving negligence is extremely high. Now couple this with the fact that he was not carrying spray, and had been hiking in the area for many years, and the likelihood of the lawsuit’s success is reduced even more.

      • SAP says:

        mad, I think your assumptions are incorrect. Read the government’s own report on the matter.


        The signs were removed from the trapsite where the bear killed Mr. Evert, even though the bear was still on site and recovering from immobilization drugs. There is no evidence that Mr. Evert knew that that particular site was being used for trapping, although he knew of trapping elsewhere in the area.

        • mad says:

          SAP, I read the 105 page report. And after reading the report, and all the statements of those involved, I am even more convinced that Mr Evert was mostly liable for his death. He had vacationed at the location for 40 yrs, had seen the signs and the team members periodically, mentioned to his daughter and friend that he wanted to “catch up to the guys” to see what they were doing. His friend even advised him to stay away. Add to this his lack of spray or firearm, and his personality of being independent and stubborn, and we have a tragic incident.

          I have trapped wolves in Wisconsin for research projects and also worked with polar bears in the Arctic. While out in the field, all members carried radios and some form of protection; shotgun, etc. I’m sorry, Mr Evert was reckless, he was improperly prepared for an encounter that he himself initiated. He sought out the 2 researchers, fully knowing they were involved with bears

          • jon says:

            I agree 100% that evert was liable for his own death.

            “Chuck Neal, a retired biologist in Cody who had frequently hiked with Evert, told Reuters last year that he had warned the botanist of research activities in the area, and urged him to stay out of the forest just days before the attack.
            Neal said in June 2010 that Evert had called him one week before the mauling to ask about a sign posted in the area warning about bear-trapping activities, and that Evert was “absolutely aware” of the risks of hiking in the area.”

          • SAP says:

            I guess it will be up to lawyers and judges in the end.

            I read the report too: his friend Chuck Neal told Mr Evert to avoid areas posted with signs; the place Mr. Evert went was not posted. He lived there 40 years, so he was used to being able to hike behind his house, and knew about hiking in grizzly country. “Catch up with the guys” does not mean he was aware of the potential presence of an anomalously dangerous bear.

            The official trail and the whole drainage apart from the immediate vicinity of trapsites remained open to public use throughout the trapping operation, evidently. Nothing in the report indicates otherwise.

            The fact that the specific trapsites had warning/closure signs will be pivotal. We can infer — as the report does — that Mr. Evert had been to one of the trapsites and therefore got the impression that the active trapsites would/should be signed and closed.

            People need to be warned away from these immediate sites for many reasons — they could run into a bear that was exploring the bait, they could run into a snared bear, they could run into a mother bear whose offspring were trapped, they could run into a sedated bear midway through recovery, with a compromised ability to flee and maybe a bad disposition toward humans in general.

            Any legal team worth its salt will be prepared to elaborate on these dangers. The level of risk at a trapsite is substantially higher the background risk of being out amongst free-roaming grizzlies. The warning/closure signs indicate that the agencies acknowledge this risk.

  12. In warmer weather the lower side pocket in a pair of carharts is perfect for a large can of pepper spray and you can deploy the spray right from the pocket without even pulling it out. If you have time, it is nice to hold the spray at arms length in the general direction of the bear and not use it unless you have to. In deep brush, moving through, many biologists and people who work with bears all the time have the spray in hand already and move through steadily at a predictable pace while making noise. Even though I have only used the spray on a bear once in the close quarters of a storage shed we were both in, I have practiced with the spray quite a few times. We used to get cans with an inert white material for training new guides and I think you can still get these. It does make a difference in your confidence to have some practical experience with it. Many of the holsters for pepper spray are closed with velcro for security, but in a close or probably area of a bear encounter you can travel with the flap open for easy access. In my humble opinion everyone who hunts in grizzly country should not only have pepper spray but have actually tried it before they need it.

    • Savebears says:

      Both UDAP and Counter Assault, have inert training canisters available, in fact I believe they both sell a package that includes an inert, a real can as well as a holster.

  13. Jerry Black says:

    FYI…… since I have 5 cans of bear spray which I accumulated over quite a few years, I called the Counter Assault Co to ask about the length of time it remains effective. They said 4 years before the content breaks down and it becomes ineffective.
    Bought 2 new canisters yesterday.

    • That company has been pretty helpful . . once I left a can in my car when it was 100 degrees out. It exploded. The company was very helpful even though it was my own dumb fault they told me in detail how to clean it up and neutralize it when I called. I am still driving the car but every once in a great while when you turn on the heater you can just barely detect a faint whiff.

    • Savebears says:

      The only thing that breaks down, is the quality of the seal on the can, I sprayed a 10 year old can the other day and the pepper still burns, but it shot a lot shorter distance than when new, as with any aerosol product, over time, the pressure in the can will bleed off. I don’t know when you called, but you might want to give them a call again and talk to Terry Morris or Dave Tucker, I know both of them personally and they have been with the company a long time, they can explain what the expiration date means. Yes, the shelf life on my cans are showing 4 years from the time I purchased it. But I do know for a fact, pepper does not break down and become any less hot..

      • SEAK Mossback says:

        Sounds like it needs regular replacement. I remember reading a few years ago about some mountain bikers that came up on a grizzly around Togwotee Pass. It sounded like one of them practically dribbled the contents of his very old can on the bear’s nose but they managed to come away unscathed.

  14. TetonBadger says:

    Still waiting to hear which bear it was, I suppose we would know by now if it was 399 or 610, I have not been out as much in the last few days as we are heading into the off season here in Jackson just for a few hours on Friday and Sunday has anyone seen either of them? I am headed out later today and will see if I can find them.

  15. Ralph Maughan says:

    I posted a separate story update on this controversy today.


October 2011


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey