Grizzly mauls hiker during ‘surprise encounter’ in Wyoming mountains, officials say

NPS / Jim Peaco
·2 min read

A hiker suddenly was face-to-face with a grizzly bear in the Wyoming mountains, officials said.

The man was hiking Francs Peak, the highest peak in Wyoming’s Absaroka Range, on Monday, June 27, Wyoming Game and Fish said.

He stumbled upon a grizzly in what “appears to be a surprise encounter,” officials said.

“The man, an experienced out-of-state recreationist, was hiking at high elevation when he encountered the bear at close range,” Game and Fish officials said in a news release. “The encounter happened too suddenly for him to deploy the bear spray he was carrying.”

The man was injured and flown in a helicopter to a hospital in Billings, Montana. Officials did not disclose the man’s current condition or identity.

Game and Fish doesn’t plan to take action to find the bear.

“Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and will make management decisions in the best interest of public safety,” officials said.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE A BEAR

Bear attacks in the U.S. are rare, according to the National Park Service. Bears in most attacks are trying to defend their food, cubs or space.

There are some steps people can take to help prevent a bear encounter from becoming a bear attack.

  • Identify yourself: Talk calmly and slowly wave your arms. This can help the bear realize you’re a human and nonthreatening.

  • Stay calm: Bears usually don’t want to attack, but they want to be left alone. Talk slowly and with a low voice to the bear.

  • Don’t scream: Screaming could trigger an attack

  • Pick up small children: Don’t let the kids run away from the bear. It could think they’re small prey.

  • Hike in groups: A group is noisier and smellier, the National Park Service said. Bears like to keep their distance from groups of people.

  • Make yourself look big: Move to higher ground and stand tall. Don’t make any sudden movements.

  • Don’t drop your bag: A bag on your back can keep a bear from accessing food, and it can provide you some protection.

  • Walk away slowly: Move sideways so you appear less threatening to the bear. This also lets you keep an eye out.

  • Again, don’t run: Bears will chase you, just like a dog would.

  • Don’t climb trees: Grizzlies and black bears can also climb.

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