Grizzly bear - American black bear
A blonde-colored black bear (not the one pictured here) was put down by authorities after it was suspected of receiving food reward by crashing littered campsites. Photo: NPS // C. Adams

JACKSON, Wyo. — A black bear was put down Monday after it had been suspected of receiving food rewards by visiting campsites in the Darby Canyon area.

Wyoming Game and Fish responded to a report of an injured camper who claimed to have been assaulted by a mountain lion at about 5 a.m.

“We checked things out and it looked like several people had been camping up there, and there was a lot of garbage left out,” said Game and Fish spokesperson Mark Gocke.

Game and Fish checked the area and found a deer carcass about 50 yards from the camper’s tent. It appeared to have been fed upon recently but it had bear scat and bear tracks around it, not a lion’s.

“It was confounding so we talked to the guy again,” Gocke said.

The man had no torn clothing and the tent was not shredded either as would be consistent with a mountain lion.

“He had just the one minor scratch on his back. It broke the skin but was not serious. Nothing to the extent an animal could have done,” Gocke added.

The evidence didn’t really add up to a mountain lion encounter but Game and Fish set a trap just to be sure what they were dealing with. Nothing hit the trap Sunday night but on Monday, in broad daylight, a female blonde black bear was captured.

Game and Fish officials determined the bear had been receiving food rewards from the wrappers found in its scat. They believe it was the bear involved in the campsite incident.

“The bear was probably bold enough to test the tent for food. It collapsed the tent, probably by accident and that is how the guy ended up getting scratched. We didn’t really see it as a predatory attack,” Gocke said.

Still, the bear was euthanized out of precaution.