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Grizzly Bear Kills Backcountry Guide Near Yellowstone

Investigators shot and killed the bear after it charged.

Wildlife officers shot and killed a grizzly bear last Friday after it fatally mauled a guide near Yellowstone National Park, Montana, wildlife officials said in a press release.

The attack occurred on Thursday about three miles north of Yellowstone near Baker’s Hole campground. The victim, identified by his employer Backcountry Adventures as Carl Mock, called 911; according to the New York Times, when first responders arrived 50 minutes later, they found the bear still in the area. Emergency medical personnel transported Mock to Idaho Falls, where he underwent several surgeries before passing away from a “massive stroke” on Saturday morning.

In a press release, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said that a group of seven personnel, including game wardens and bear specialists, arrived at the site on Friday to investigate the incident, making noise as they moved to warn off any bears in the area.

“Before they reached the site, a bear began charging the group. Despite multiple attempts by all seven people to haze away the bear, it continued its charge,” the organization said. “Due to this immediate safety risk, the bear was shot and died about 20 yards from the group.”

Further investigation of the site revealed a moose carcass cached about 50 yards away from where the attack occurred. In the release, officials said that the grizzly, described as an older male, appears to have been defending a food source.

While Mock was carrying bear spray, Montana FWP said that it’s unclear whether he had a chance to deploy it before the attack. In its release, the agency reminded people traveling in grizzly country to take precautions including traveling in groups whenever possible, making noise, and carrying bear spray in an easily-accessible location.

The area remains closed by a Forest Service order while the investigation continues.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzlies have been at the center of several court battles over the past several years, with federal and state agencies fighting to strip them of protections and environmental groups challenging the science behind their decisions. In 2020, a federal appeals court upheld a decision keeping them on the endangered species list, protecting the area’s roughly 720 bears from hunting. Thursday’s attack is the first fatal mauling by a grizzly in the lower 48 states since 2018.