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Grizzly Bear Attacks Man in Northwestern Wyoming

griz
John Moore, Getty Images

A man who was hunting for shed antlers near Cody was attacked by a grizzly bear Tuesday.

His injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.

Luke Ellsbury, Large Carnivore Biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Cody office, said Wednesday the man was looking for shed antlers in the Bald Ridge area.

The man found an antler and was reportedly picking it up when the bear approached from his right side and knocked the man down. The man threw his arms and legs out in front of himself as a defense.

Ellsbury says the bear bit the man’s arm two to three times, then quickly took off.

The man was able to get to his vehicle and drive himself to the hospital. He reportedly suffered injuries on his right arm and left leg.

“Basically it amounted to some bruises and some scrapes,” Ellsbury said.

Ellsbury added that Game and Fish is not planning any management action as of Wednesday afternoon.

“This was a pretty natural defensive behavior,” Ellsbury said as he explained the victim evidently got too close to the bear without realizing the animal was nearby.

The bear apparently attacked in order to defend itself, feeling its space had been threatened. Ellsbury said bears will instinctively defend food, cubs and their immediate territory, which appears to have been the concern in this case.

“At that point the bear was probably just trying to eliminate a threat,” Ellsbury said. “He did that and moved on.”

“It leads us to believe that it’s not anything to worry about right now,” he added.

This time of year, bears are coming down from higher elevations in search of food after a long hibernation. In bear country, which includes much of the area near Cody as well as the entirety of Yellowstone National Park, Ellsworth encourages folks to remain “bear-aware.”

That includes remaining vigilant when venturing into the outdoors and carrying a defense mechanism such as bear spray.

“Most bears are surprisingly wary of people,” Ellsbury said. “I think it’s those times that they’re startled at really close range, it’s their natural instinct to defend themselves.”

 

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