CODY, WYO – An elk hunter and her guide were injured by a grizzly bear in the backcountry while elk hunting on public land south of Cody. Both individuals were injured in the attack, but the injuries were not life threatening.
On the evening of October 26, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department was notified by the Park County Sheriff’s Office that two individuals had been injured by a grizzly bear while hunting on the Shoshone National Forest in the Boulder Basin area. Game and Fish personnel immediately began an investigation that included interviews with the victims and examination of the site of the attack.
The investigation revealed that while both individuals were field dressing and quartering an elk when they were attacked without warning by a grizzly bear. After the attack, the bear took one of the elk quarters and left the area. The individuals were able to get back on their horses and return to camp where they called 911.
The guide has been identified as John Sheets of Boulder Basin Outfitters of Cody. The Cody Enterprise is reporting Sheets encounter as a terrifying ordeal. The bear first jumped the female hunter. Sheets responded by stabbing the bear with his hunting knife. The bear then mauled Sheets, dragged the hunter off, and returned to chew on Sheets some more befoire leaving with an elk quarter.
When Game and Fish field investigators arrived at the site the following day, no bears were found in the immediate area of the attack, however there were other bears observed in the area between the Boulder Basin trailhead and the attack site.
“First of all, we wish these individuals a speedy and full recovery and are appreciative of their willingness to provide detailed information to the investigators,” said Cody regional wildlife supervisor Dan Smith. “This incident happened extremely quickly; it appears this is a situation of a grizzly bear aggressively taking an elk carcass for food. Due to the remoteness of the area and the inability to identify the offending bear, no management action will be taken at this time.”
Proper handling and retrieval of game
- The best way to minimize conflicts over a carcass is to pack and remove the game meat out of the field as quickly as possible. The longer game is in the field, at camp, or in the back of a vehicle the more likely it is to be discovered by a bear.
- Separate the carcass from the gut pile with as much distance as possible.
- Quarter and hang the carcass in a tree at least 10’ to 15’ from the ground and 4’ from the tree trunk.
- If you must leave the carcass on the ground, place it in plain view so when you return, you can see if a bear is present or if it has been disturbed prior to making your approach. Placing something conspicuous on the carcass that may help you detect if there has been a bear at the carcass. For example branches or an article of clothing that can easily be seen from a long distance.
- When returning to a carcass that has been left overnight, use caution. Stop and view the carcass from a distance with binoculars. Approach the carcass upwind and make sufficient noise to alert a bear of your presence.
- If you detect disturbance from a distance or if the carcass has been buried, a bear has probably been to the carcass or may be bedded nearby.
- Never attempt to scare a bear off of a carcass it has claimed.
- In camp, store game meat, capes, and dirty tools/clothes at least 100 yards from your sleeping area and preferably down wind.
- Clean fish at designated cleaning station or at home. Wash all your gear to ensure there are no desirable odors for future use.
1875 N. HWY 89 Jackson
685 & 695 BOOSHWAY STREET Driggs
860 SENECA LANE Jackson
785 & 795 W BROADWAY Jackson
1046 ELK RUN LANE Jackson
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