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Grizzly Attacks Man in Grand Teton


    By now you've probably heard about the grizzly attack in Grand Teton National Park. Fifty-four-year-old Dennis VanDenbos was out for an early morning hike yesterday on the Wagon Road below the corrals at Jackson Lake Lodge and surprised a sow and her three cubs.
    The bears were feeding on an elk carcass and evidently perceived Mr. VanDenbos as a threat to their food. The man, from Lander, Wyoming, was out around 6 a.m. when he encountered the bears. He says he was watching an elk off to his right when he noticed the bears just about 10 feet from him on the left.
    While Mr. VanDenbos yelled at the bears as they started to approach them, one of the grizzlies didn't stop. He then jumped off the trail and laid down in a submissive posture. The bear inflicted some puncture wounds and lacerations on his backside before it was frightened off by the shouting of a wrangler who heard the commotion.
    After initial medical treatment on the scene, Mr. VanDenbos was taken to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, where he obtained additional treatment.
    Park officials have no plans to take adverse action against the grizzlies, as they were behaving normally in protecting the elk carcass.
    This is the second grizzly attack in Wyoming in recent weeks. In late May a Montana photographer was attacked in Yellowstone.


its called bear pepper spray, bear mace, whatever you want to call it. you put yourself in more danger with a gun then you do pepper spray.

My wife and I had a VERY close encounter with a grizzly "cub" (had to have been at least 400 pounds) this summer while camping in the open in Coulter Bay campground. Fortunately, the bear was curious and only "sniffed" us as it was moving through the area at dawn on August 30, 2007. I awoke to a "clicking" sound on our plastic ground cloth. I slowly lifted my head, then startled to see the bear starting at us not 12 inches away! Its front feet were standing on the ground cloth. Talk about an adrenaline rush! The bear was not aggressive in the the least and I'm sure it was just checking to see who the fools were sleeping amidst the lodge poles and overcast sky. It's an experience we'll never forget and, yes, we did report "visit" to park officials...

Sally - how do you know the bear wasn't there first?

Oh, wait, you don't. Excuse the rhetorical question.

Mustang Sally (aka acid tongue momma) my tribe always considers and recognizes the bear as a sacred animal regardless who was here first...what difference does it make to seem so anti nature! Why!!

Birdie: How do you know the bear was "here first?" Was the bear older than the guy attacked??

1.) In the Teton case.. responsibility lies with the NPS. It is entirely thier fault as was the 2 - 1967 Glacier deaths (well documented in the “Night of the Grizzlies, by Jack Olsen”. Jackson Lake Lodge is not a wilderness area where man should know that he is in harms way, and using his wilderness savy. This is an area that the NPS has encouraged all walks of life to visit by providing/allowing the paved roads and the cushy living quarters. It is not a wilderness environment. The Grizzly is a wilderness element and should not be a part of this environment. The lodge should be moved.. the area restored to wilderness, or the grizzly and the elk kill should be moved to wilderness. The NPS/Wyoming Game and Fish? has allowed the encrouchment of the gizzlies habitat into non-wilderness areas… visitor areas, knowing placing naive tourists in harms way. This is criminal. Typical… as in the case of the Glacier 1967 deaths.. the NPS uses 20/20 hindsite to correct it’s mismanagemnt of bears. This shows how little the NPS values human life. A garbage dump near a mountain cabin in Glacier in 1967 is no different than an elk kill site near Jackson Lodge in Grand Teton. Action should be taken… not against the bear, but against the NPS and thier continued inability to manage the people and bear interface.... 3 grizzly cubs now know it is ok to chow down on tourists.
2.) In the Yellowstone photographer's mauling last month.. the fault lies with the maulee... he invaded the bears turf and invaded thier safe sapce.. This was the second time this guy has been mauled... some people just don't get it... but is was his choice.

Just this week a motorcyclist died in Grand Teton. That's the only one this year, but that's one more motor vehicle death than bear death. If one looks at stories about it, there were still several more bear stories, even in the relatively modest Grand Teton case than in the death of the motorcyclist. We have no idea how many have been injured in motor vehicle accidents to date. We know that in bear cases in Grand Teton there has been one.

And, now a young boy was killed in his tent in Utah by a black bear, which is even rarer. Again, that will garner more press than the car accidents. Random crimes always are scarier for people because people think they can somehow control events. A plane crash will always get more press than a car crash. Yet, the statistics point actually with cars (and guns as well) that incidents with them are so large that there is something else wrong. I don't like the approach to solutions on these issues, but I think we should think of these things, like car accidents, as more dangerous and more unpredictable because as much as we think we can control our cars, the incidents are still so high. It means we have almost no handle on what might happen the way we for the most part do with bears (or even airplanes).

Why are bear attacks in national parks (which happen infrequently) given more press than serious and fatal auto accidents (which happen more frequently)? Sensationalism? Is this blog fueling the hype?

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