(Dubois, WY) – A man was injured Aug. 5 by a grizzly bear while working in the Shoshone National Forest northwest of Dubois. After receiving first aid from first responders, the individual was flown to the hospital for further treatment.
The man sustained injuries when he encountered a single grizzly bear at close range while conducting survey work in the Sheridan Creek drainage the morning of Aug. 5. He was able to leave the scene after the encounter and called 911. Fremont County Sheriff’s office and an ambulance responded to the call, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department was notified at that time.
Game and Fish conducted a brief interview with the man before he was taken to the hospital, then responded to the scene. With the use of a drone, Game and Fish personnel surveyed the scene and surrounding area and found no sign of the bear that afternoon.
Although the investigation is still ongoing, based on the initial information, this appears to be a sudden, surprise encounter with a grizzly bear at close range. The incident occurred too quickly for the individual to deploy bear spray, and once the bear made contact the man dropped and covered his head and neck and did not fight back. The bear left the area after the encounter.
The wounds sustained by the victim and behavior of the bear are indicative of an “aggressive defensive” encounter at close range. Due to the surprise nature of the encounter, there are currently no further management actions planned.
“First and foremost, we want to wish the individual a quick and successful recovery. His split-second reaction to this sudden, defensive encounter with a bear was the best possible response to this unfortunate situation,” said Lander Regional Wildlife Supervisor Jason Hunter. “We also want to thank the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Dubois Police Department for their on-the-ground support into the investigation.”
To learn about grizzly bears in Wyoming and how to avoid conflicts, visit the Bear Wise Wyoming webpage.