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Elk Hunter In Grand Teton National Park Injured By Bear



A Wyoming man hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park was attacked by a bear Sunday, but managed to call for help after the bear left the area.

Details were sketchy: The 32-year-old Jackson man could not definitively say whether it was a grizzly or black bear that attacked him, and the extent of his injuries were not immediately known, although they were not considered life-threatening.

Grand Teton spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said the man was hunting along the east side of the Snake River between Blacktail Ponds and Glacier View Overlooks when he was attacked about 11:30 a.m. 

The man was carrying bear spray and following the recommended protocols for hunting in bear country, she said. The hunter told rangers that when he spotted the bear he dropped to the ground and covered his head, she added. It was not immediately clear if the bear was acting defensively, or viewed him as prey, said Ms. Anzelo-Sarles.

However, reports that the hunter had fired shots at the bear were in error, the spokeswoman said.

"It took about 45 minutes from the time of his call for the first responder to arrive on scene. He was about three-quarters and a mile off the road, in the river bottom," said Ms. Anzelo-Sarles.

The hunter received initial treatment in the field, and was transported to the road in a litter. An ambulance transported him to a Jackson hospital. Rangers were conducting an investigation Sunday afternoon to see if they could piece together what happened.

Attacks by bears in the park are extremely rare. There have been six reported bear attacks in the history of Grand Teton National Park- none were fatal, according to park records. In 2007 a female grizzly bear with cubs mauled a jogger near Jackson Lake Lodge in a surprise encounter.

Grand Teton's enabling legislation allows for a limited elk hunt in the park. All  hunters  participating  in  the  elk  reduction program are provided with a bear information and safety packet.  The following guidelines are suggested for participating hunters:

* Hunt with a partner.

* Carry bear spray (required).

* Avoid “dark” timber during mid-day when bears may be using a day-bed.

*  Have  a predetermined plan of action for retrieving harvested game from the field.

*  Be extra cautious after making a kill and when hunting in areas where animals have recently been harvested.

* Avoid hunting in areas where fresh bear sign is repeatedly observed.

* Avoid gut piles.


What a brave, courageous and savvy young man! An outdoorsman who knew what to do when faced with the dangers of the wilderness. Being knowledgable and staying levelheaded just might have saved his life. (Everyone keeps saying how lucky he is that it wasn't worst, true indeed... But does surviving a bear attack really make you lucky, or is getting mauled just really unlucky??)

Stick with "Duck Hunt" please... Elk meat can't be that good! 

Grand Teton National Park does a horrible job educating hunters on how to deal with bears in the park.  Many people come from areas of our country where they do not have to worry about bears.  They come here and have no idea how to handle a bear encounter.  I understand that the man was from Jackson but in general hunters in the park are poorly educated.  I have talked to many hunters and am really surprised how little they know about bears.  I tell them about the effectiveness of bear spray and how guns are a poor means of defense against a bear attack.  This year I was telling them about the incident where two guys were out hunting and a bear attacked.  The person not getting attacked accidentally shot his partner, fatally, when trying to shoot the attacking bear.  The park needs to do more to educate its hunters if they want to keep the bears alive.  
Poorly educated hunters is reason Grizzly 615 is dead today.  615 was shot from nearly 100 yards away by a hunter who was frightened because she looked at him.  A short video on cohabiting with bears in the park could have made the difference of life or death for 615.  The park is seriously slacking in its duties to keep its visitors save and the bears safe in bear country and I hope they do better in the future.

A victim of the bear spray cult? We'll see. Instead of giving hunters useful information on how to use their firearm effectively for self-defense, Grand Teton NP tells them to carry bear spray and know how to use it. Which is nonsense. Hunters need at least one hand to hold their rifle. You need two hands for bear spray. Yeah, yeah, I know: it's possible to deploy bear spray one-handed. It would be possible for Tiger Woods to play golf one-handed, but that's not a stunt he'd want to try during the Masters. Two hands is best.
Just today in an AP article about a reputed focus on bear safety after all the attacks this summer, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator said people needed to train like the military until they can "react without hesitation to threats."
Hunters using the cradle carry or two-hand ready carry will never ever ever ever be trained to let go of their rifle with one hand so they can try to use bear spray with their free hand. Hunters using the shoulder carry will never be trained to try to use bear spray with their off-hand.
I'm all for bears, but hunters should not have to get maimed and killed to keep bear spray zealots happy. Hunters in grizzly country should train to use their rifles instinctively for self-defense against grizzlies during surprise encounters.

Oh, but it is good, very good!  You might try it.  It's lean and very good for you:).

Well said, Dave. You are one of the very few people who comment on these boards.

Dave Smith, do you not have thumbs?
I just walked out on my porch with an inert UDAP can (bear spray minus the active ingredients), and I really have no problem removing the safety with my thumb and firing it one-handed.  It's even easier when the can is in the elastic holster.  I'm not sure why you think it's akin to playing golf one-handed.
If the safety is too tight to easily slide off, a person can always file it down to make it slide easier.
If you really DON'T have thumbs, I hope I am not hurting your feelings with my callous remarks.

Dave -
Those are ridiculous comments. What does a hiker do with their walking staff when encountering a bear? They drop it and use their bear spray. Bear spray has proven far more effective than firearms for bear defense.
Your chances of being maimed by a bear increase when you injure it with a firearm.

The bear startled and attacked the young man before he could even reach his you really think he had time to get his rifle set and shoot the thing?? No, and had he attempted to "use [his] rifle instinctively for self defense" as suggested, he would be dead right now. Luckily, this man was smart enough to educate himself about hunting, being in the wilderness and what one should do in case of a bear encounter... which was/is to get down on the ground curl up and cover the head. The young man, who currently lives in Jackson, but is not native to any kind of "bear country" sustained a broken scapula and multiple puncture wounds, the worst being a bite to the upper arm. They expect him to be released tomorrow morning. He should be lauded for taking the responsibility to educate himself about hunting safety before going out there!

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