Mark Uptain

The body of Martin Outfitters guide Mark Uptain was found Saturday after a search was launched in the early morning hours. Uptain, along with his bow-hunting client Corey Chubon, was involved in a bear attack. Chubon survived.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department on Monday released new details about the fatal mauling of hunting guide Mark Uptain last weekend, including that bear spray was deployed.

“An investigation found a discharged can of bear spray with the safety off near the body,” Game and Fish officials said in a statement. “It was later determined that the sow (female bear) had been sprayed with bear spray.”

The complete investigation is still ongoing, the notice said, and will continue with a forensic analysis to provide additional scientific evidence.

Game and Fish personnel killed the sow and yearling grizzly that were involved in the attack Sunday. A foothold snare that was left overnight near the conflict-causing elk carcass had subdued the younger bruin, and the yearling’s mother remained nearby.

“The sow charged the team in an aggressive manner and was shot by Game and Fish personnel,” the Game and Fish notice said. “The yearling bear was chemically immobilized and determined to be involved in the attack of the victims. The yearling bear was then euthanized.”

For a full account of the attack that killed Uptain and injured his client, Corey Chubon, pick up the Wednesday edition of the News&Guide. Prior reporting about the incident is available at

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, or @JHNGenviro.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

(23) comments

sean henry

ya god forbid bear spray and a wyoming wind is used in the same sentence.this doesn't need any further explanation, but hey it tastes great


Again Karelian Bear Dogs. Would have given time for a clear shot or get away and would not run out of 'pepper'.


This is a pro active, helpful comment that should actually be explored....any outfitters reading these comments that have an opinion if a service like this would be useful? Not for hunting, obviously, that's not allowed...but having the dogs in camp and when retrieving an animal that will be field dressed and brought out of the back country? A third level of protection; bear spray and firearm are the 1st and 2nd. Thoughts?

Chad guenter

This can now be an answer to those that say "cite one time bear spray hasn't worked", or "bear spray is 100% effective".
Noah Kolis should reflect on this story and his misplaced regret when he protected his own life with a handgun.

Jay Westemeier

You should have been a politician Mr. Guenter. You'd fit right in with the other jokers we have in Washington. Spouting off subjective conjecture without witness doesn't prove or solve anything. Remember that a firearm was in possession of the victims and it didn't prevent the outcome.

Sam Campbell

I don't think anyone would claim anything is 100% effective for a situation like this. However, from accounts from the only witness, I think we can safely assume that neither a firearm nor bear spray was used prior to the attack, and the bear spray canister was found with the victim 1/4 mile from the location of the initial attack. Seems like a distinct possibility that the bear spray was deployed during the attack, unfortunately not prior to wounds that ended up being fatal?

Steve Ronne

A good man is gone, regardless of high stung emotions on both sides of the great bear and hunting issue.
Come together and please support the family and survivors.
I donated today to Jackson First Baptist church fund, did YOU? Put your money where your mouths are on both sides of this tragic issue.
Help people first. Then help however you feel you think you should for the bears, or for hunting them, or not.
I am sick of reading those of you who diminish this man's life, bears or no bears, hunting or not hunting.
Help out his widow and five kids if you truly have a heart.
All can agree to disagree later about all of this, but who out there doesn't think that this family doesn't need our support and help?
It's karma, folks. It all comes around.

Michael Grasseschi

Thanks Steve, for some sanity here. All will be revealed... we hope

William Addeo

Let's face the facts; It was a hunt that went all wrong. Hunting, skiing, mountain climbing, sky diving, fishing and all other activities that have a degree of danger sometimes end up bad. Still, people like to face danger and they know the situation when they go on an adventure like this. The best adventurers in the world end up in more danger than they can handle. Mt. Everest is a prime example. Still people climb mountains. There is absolutely no blame here because nobody can ever say how they would have handled the same situation, till it happens to them. John Sharp and Simon Evans are the best hunters in all of Africa. Both have been mauled by Cape Buffalo and almost died. Most of the hunting detectives who comment have never hunted. Those who have know better than to comment on an accident that they weren't involved in. All we can do is speculate and try to stay out of trouble next time we go hunting. When you go into the woods, you become part of the food chain.
This is surely a horrific tragedy and we should all be donating to the family and paying our respects to the family. God Bless all of you!

Jay Westemeier

For once, I agree with you. Good post.

carol deech

Who used the bear spray? The guide or the hunter? If you are going to update a story it would be nice to know the facts surrounding it? So, we killed two bears with NO forensics evidence? So what if it was a black bear as the hunter didn't seem to know how to identify what it was? Wyoming Game & Fish to quick to kill an endangered species. Gung hoe about killing for what reason, the bears didn't fed off any humans, they didn't cache the elk as if it was there's. According to Dan Thompson most likely the bears fled... empty bear spray, guns thrown not recovered.... The only thing that is certain is a family man, two bears and a dead elk. Us humans are just as bad as a predator kill and be killed.. We are suppose to be the wiser one... I don't see it.

Johanna Love Staff
Johanna Love

Hi Carol, our reporter is working on this developing story. Since the client's account was that he did not use bear spray, one would surmise that the guide discharged the can. We expect many more details to come. — Ed.

michael wood

Carol, I sympathize with the bears (all bears) and the bow hunters also. However I believe that the Game and Fish employees who were searching for the killer bear were not gung hoe about killing a bear. I think it was their intention to anesthetize and analyze to determine if the said bear or bears were involved. If in doing that a bear charged me I would shoot it too. I have no idea how it was determined the yearling was involved in the attack and that should be clarified. Especially since it was stated that the body was not fed upon. I live in Colorado and get really pissed off with the policy here of 2 strikes and you're gone. Bears here do not have a chance with that insane policy. Most bears destroyed here are from raiding garbage cans that residents leave out for the invite from bears. I firmly believe the humans responsible for this neglect should be relocated. Just my opinion!

Roger Selover

I am just guessing here but might have human-blood evidence have been found on the claws and/or muzzle of the yearling bear?

William Addeo

It's really none of your business. You weren't there. You don't own the bears or the elk and Fish and Game handled it. You ought to pipe down and donate some money to the family and show some respect for the man who died. If you lost a child to a bear attack, I'm sure you would be looking at the bear situation a little differently. Why does it always take a tragedy to correct the problem? We have too many bears!

Steve Ronne

It's Wyoming Game and Fish, not Fish and Game. Just shows you are not from around Wyoming, or not here for very long. Red flag those who say Fish and Game.

William Addeo

Wow, Steve Ronne, You sure have a lot to say. Sounds to me like you are an authority on government departments. Thanks for your input. It solves a lot of questions and I'm sure everyone agrees with you! Do you see any red flags?

Kally Weber

FYI Carol, grizzlies aren't endangered anymore... there are reports we have 700 + in the Greater Yellowstone Eco System. There is a thing called conservation -preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife. When hunters buy tags, that money goes to conservation. With so many bears in our ecosystem, who is their predator? Nothing at this point. Whether you like it or not, people are still out their hunting to feed their families. You live a privileged life to be able to buy all of your meat from the grocery store, not everyone can afford that. I personally like to know where the meat I am eating comes from, not filled with antibiotics and chemicals to preserve like store-bought meat contains. It is not normal bear behavior for a sow to still be with her cub after it has surpassed a year of age. Show some respect for the loss of human life, god forbid anything like this happens to someone you care about.

Michael Grasseschi

Actually Kally, sows have their cubs for three years, always. They are born in the den in January, blind, helpless, and looking like guinea pigs, then they are completely dependent on her milk to get them to 10-20 lbs when they emerge from the den. They spend that spring, summer and fall with mom, then she teaches them to hibernate from the first time that winter. If they all survive (cubs have about a 40% chance of making it through their first winter) she does the same 'bear education 101' again for one more year, which means they learn the hibernation ritual once more in a second winter. That following spring, when they are three years old, she boots them out of her life, usually in April or May, so that she can go into estrus and find a suitable mate for the next breeding season. Therefore, in light of what you said: there is nothing whatsoever unusual about a one or two year old being with his/her mother, in fact it is essential that she/he spends three springs/years with her mom, thats how they learn to be subadult bears and succeed on their own once let go...


" Depending on food abundance, mothers (especially grizzlies) may keep their yearlings a second (even a third) year, denning together again and breaking up in the third (or fourth) year." - that's a direct quote from a grizzly bear research/study web site; so yes it is perfectly normal. Their predator? It's humans, you are perfectly within your right to shoot/kill or use bear spray on an advancing bear exhibiting aggressive behavior. It's not "privileged" to buy meat from a grocery store; it's called choice; and if you choose to hunt for your meat then you also have the opportunity to defend yourself in the field (and I'm being very liberal saying that! - it's not quite a fair fight is it?) Take a firearm and hunt, but know that we are not the only ones inhabiting the natural ecosystem you are referencing in the conservation argument.

Steve Ronne

Click on the link within the article.

Chad guenter

Well that puts a wrench in some theories.

Michael Grasseschi

What were you thinking, Chad? I am curious.. (you mean the use of bear spray-etc?)

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.