Yellowstone National Park

A Missouri women was knocked over and slightly injured by a defensive sow grizzly bear Monday morning in the Fairy Falls area, Yellowstone National Park reported.

The altercation came after a “very close range” encounter with two grizzlies, according to the park.

“From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” Yellowstone bear management biologist Kerry Gunther said in a statement. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”

Park officials did not identify the hiker, but said that she was knocked down, sustaining a scratch on her thigh and minor injuries to her face as a result of hitting the ground. The woman declined medical attention. During the interaction, she “attempted” to use bear spray, according to the park, although it’s unclear if the deterrent was successfully deployed.

Yellowstone’s public affairs officers did not immediately respond to an interview request Wednesday afternoon. A statement of bullet points issued said the incident was under investigation and that there was no additional information to share.

In the aftermath of the run-in, the Fairy Falls Trail was cleared of hikers and closed. A number of other trails in the area were subsequently closed and remained closed as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Yellowstone’s website. Those trails are: Fountain Freight Road, Imperial Geyser and Sentinel Meadows. Fairy Creek trail is also closed north of campsites OD2, and OD3, and campsites OG1, OD1, OD5, OD3 and OD4 are closed.

Monday’s Fairy Falls incident was not the first instance of a greater Yellowstone grizzly injuring a hiker this year. Multiple shed antler hunters were badly hurt in Wyoming, and a hiker was injured along the Outlet Overlook Trail in Idaho’s Henrys Lake State Park.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or

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.

(3) comments

Konrad Lau

This person is very lucky she wasn't killed!

Many attacks such as this are prosecuted with extreme prejudice and do not end up happily.

Solution: Close the trail for the immediate future.

Question: Were both parties wearing masks?


Da Bears.

Jim Olson

I'm very happy to read that no action is being taken against the sow.

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.
As of Oct. 18, 2020, the News&Guide has shifted to a subscriber-only commenting policy. You can read about this decision on our About Us page. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.