Yellowstone Hike Ends in Tragedy

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A man and his wife were hiking along Wapiti Lake Trail on Wednesday morning. They had walked about a mile and a half on the trail when they surprised a mother grizzly with two cubs. The mother grizzly attacked in defensive mode, fatally injuring the male hiker. The wife started yelling for help, and nearby hikers dialed 911 for assistance. Park Rangers responded quickly to the scene.

"It is extremely unfortunate that this couple’s trip into the Yellowstone back country has ended in tragedy," said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. "Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim as they work to cope with their loss."

Yellowstone has not had a fatal bear attack since 1986 and in 2010 no visitors to the park were injured by bears. In response to this attack all backcountry camping is closed and the backcountry trails have been closed until further notice. Rangers are working to get the current backcountry users out of the area. Bear warning signs have been posted at the Wapiti Lake trail head, this leads into the Pelican Valley which has significant bear activity. No bears have been reported in this area recently, nor any animal carcasses. An investigation is in process, the victim's identity has not been released. From Yellowstone Insider.


hunter25's picture

As everyone hsd said this is

As everyone hsd said this is another tragic incident of human and animal confrontation. Hard to say at this point what all the details are but I'm sure we will find out soon enough. This is a well known area for grizzly bears and due caution must be excercised. I've never used it myself but maybe just a good can of pepper spray when out in areas like this may have been enough to save his life. It looks like the bear was just pritecting her young to me and if that is truly the case then I don't think it would be necessary to destroy her, if there are other cicumstances then that could change but it doesn't look like it right now. Even at that though most of these bears have probably seen many people before and have little if any fear of them.

My condolences to the family as well and especially to his wife that actually witnessed the attack.

arrowflipper's picture

extremely sad

This is an extremely sad scenario on both sides.  My heart goes out to the wife and other family members that lost a loved one.  I also hope they don't destroy the animal.

This bear was doing exactly what comes naturally.  She was not being aggressive or offensive.  She was merely protecting her offspring.  She was doing what any good mother would do.  When people hike into areas that are known to have bears, they take upon themselves a certain responsibility for what they are doing.  It is NOT the fault of the National Park Department.  I'd guess we're looking at a lawsuit, but that's only because some money-hungry attorney will get involved.

If there were signs posted to beware of bears, then at least some of the responsibility rests with the hikers.  The Fourth of July weekend just passed and even in my little town, there were serious accidents.  People KNOW the dangers of fireworks and they know even more the dangers of home-made fireworks, but no one ever thinks it can happen to them.  There's a young man in his early twenties that no longer has a hand.  He was showing people how long he could hold fireworks before throwing them.  He made himself a big banger and unfortunately, it went off before he threw it.  It took his hand with it.  Who is responsible for this tragedy???

I think people want a little danger and risk in their lives.  Why do we have so many high-risk recreation activities?  People want an adrenaline high and will do stupid things to get it.  Going into an area with grizzly bears can be a high risk and therefore, high adrenaline activity.  If you are willing to take that risk, then maybe you should be willing to take the consequences.  It is no one's fault but your own.


groovy mike's picture

sad indeed

Sad indeed.  It is unfortunate for all concerned.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Yet again anotyher sad

Yet again anotyher sad story.  That is too bad, mu condolences go out to the family and friends of the victums.  Not knowing the situation but you always have to wonder of there was something they could have done to let the bears that are in the area that they were know the bells thing or whistling.  The one thing the articlie did not mention as to what happeded to the bear??  I am sure as in most cases the bear will be destroyed.