U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- On the evening of 22 September 2005, a hunting guide and his hunter, who was from Ohio, were attacked without provocation, by a grizzly bear in the Shoshone National Forest in the northwest corner of Wyoming. The details of the attack were found in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) response to AmmoLand. This correspondent has not found any other published account of this attack.
The hunter had been drawn for an archery tag for elk, with his friends. The hunter had been assigned a guide by the licensed outfitter. On the morning of 22 September, the guide had decided to take the hunter to the Elizabeth Creek area to pursue elk. They took two pack mules and their riding horses and left a little later than normal because the guide thought they might encounter elk along the way.
They saw elk but noticed horses from another party were tied in the area. They kept traveling rather than interfere with the other hunters.
When they arrived at Elizabeth Creek, they heard a bull elk bugling below them. They started to hunt the bull, waiting in expectation the bull would bed down, hoping they would be able to spot him. If they were unable to spot the bull, they expected to leave the area about 6-6:30 p.m.
Location of Cattle Call Crossbow Bear Attack, from the FOIA response
At about 15 or 20 minutes before six, the guide saw a sow grizzly bear with a cub. He told the hunter they needed leave the area. When they had traveled about 200 yards, the guide remembered he had left his cow call. He told the hunter to wait while he retrieved the call.
As the guide was returning to the hunter, he noticed the hunter was watching something. The guide thought it was probably elk. When the guide was about 50 yards from the hunter, the hunter yelled “Look out!” The guide looked and saw movement through the trees. He suspected it was the bull. A different sow grizzly with two large cubs burst into the clearing. The guide attempted to warn the bear off by making himself large, yelling, “Hey Bear, get out of here!” and waving his arms. The bear charged straight at the guide, roaring.
The guide attempted to draw his .44 magnum revolver, but the pistol hung up on the trigger guard. The bear was very close, so the guide dodged behind an eight-inch birch tree, to avoid the bear. The guide estimated he spent 40 seconds dodging the bear around the tree, until the bear grabbed him by the right side, and threw him to the ground.
It is common for time to appear to stretch out when in a life and death situation.
With the guide on the ground, the bear worried him for a short period, then left him and ran at the hunter, who was armed with a crossbow. At ten yards, the hunter shot the bear in the chest with his bow. At the impact of the bolt, the bear stood up, and started back toward the guide, then lay down.
The hunter shouted to the guide, “She’s dead, I’m all right!” The guide got up and asked where the bear went. The hunter said “She is right next to you, about 6-8 feet away.” The guide determined the bear was still breathing, so he shot her in the back of he head with the .44 magnum. Then he looked around to see what was happening with the two large cubs. (estimated two years old) The cubs were not seen.
After a few seconds, the guide and hunter left the area.
On 23 September 2005, a Warden interviewed the guide and contacted the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agent. The Warden confirmed the Guide had several puncture wounds to his right side and the right front of his stomach.
On 6 October 2005, the Special Agent and the Warden took a helicopter flight to the area, in an attempt to find the dead grizzly. The search was severely hampered by 12-14 inches of new snow.
Given the circumstances, the Assistant United States Attorney declined criminal prosecution on 28 July 2006. The Office of the Solicitor for the Department of the Interior for the Rocky Mountain Region declined to pursue a civil penalty on 6 November 2006.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.