Grizzly track

Grizzly bear track

CASPER — A hunter who was attacked by a grizzly last weekend shot and killed the bear, wildlife officials said. Her two cubs were later euthanized by authorities.

The attack occurred Saturday morning as the man was elk hunting west of Cody. He and his hunting partner had a “sudden encounter” with the bears, according to a statement from state and federal wildlife agencies. The female grizzly had not been handled by officials in the past and was unmarked.

Saturday’s mauling was the first human injury from a grizzly encounter in Wyoming this year, said Dan Smith, Cody regional wildlife supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish.

“It was an unprovoked attack,” Smith said. “There was nothing that indicates the hunters had done anything that would provoke an attack.”

The hunter may have accidentally startled the bear, come too close to her cubs or approached an important food source, Smith said.

“This time of year, bears are very hyperphagic, and they’re trying to put on weight before they go in to hibernate in the winter. And so if they have a food source that they’re protecting, that could instigate aggressive behavior,” he said.

The agency did not reveal the extent of the hunter’s injuries, but reported that they were not life-threatening. After the attack, he rode five miles out to a trailhead on horseback before being flown by helicopter to a hospital in Billings, Montana.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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