Man ‘Severely Mauled’ in Grizzly Bear Attack While on Backpacking Trip in Remote Wyoming

by Chris Haney

Earlier this week, officials located a grizzly bear attack victim in the remote wilderness of Wyoming who was on a backpacking trip. The man was hiking through the high country west of Meeteetsi, Wyoming when the grizzly encounter occurred on Monday afternoon.

Local Montana station KTVQ News reported the story during its Thursday broadcast. The station spoke with the Park County Sheriff Department following the incident. Authorities shared only a few details about the victim, who is a 68-year-old man from Buffalo, New York. The unnamed man was on a multi-day trip backpacking through the region when he came face-to-face with the grizzly bear.

There aren’t many details of the actual attack. However, officials did share information of interest when it came to the man’s rescue. Responders were able to find the victim because of the man’s personal locator beacon. The device sent out a distress signal, which the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center picked up.

At first, the agency assumed the signal came from a downed aircraft. But they eventually realized the distress signal stemmed from a personal beacon. Park County Search and Rescue helicopters tracked the man down to a remote location at a high altitude in the area.

Upon arrival, rescuers quickly understood the seriousness of the situation. A grizzly bear had “severely mauled” and injured the 68-year-old. Rescuers immediately stabilized the man and flew him to a nearby hospital in Billings, Montana. Whether or not the man’s injuries are life-threatening or not is unknown.

Wyoming Game & Fish Department Shares Further Details From the Grizzly Bear Attack

The Wyoming Game & Fish Department reported their findings over the grizzly bear attack as well this week. The department shared that the man likely didn’t see the grizzly coming. Therefore he had no time to react or defend himself before it was too late.

“The investigation is ongoing, and Game and Fish personnel and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are gathering further details today,” the WGFD said in their report. “Based on the initial investigation, this appears to be a surprise encounter between the individual and a grizzly bear. The man, an experienced out-of-state recreationist, was hiking at high elevation when he encountered the bear at close range. The encounter happened too suddenly for him to deploy the bear spray he was carrying.”

As of now, the department has not tracked down the location of the bear involved in the attack. The WGFD has no plans of taking action against the animal, but is monitoring bear activity in the area.

“Based on the information gathered during the initial investigation, Game and Fish plans no management action at this time,” the press release shared. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and will make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.”

So far this season, this encounter is the only reported grizzly bear attack on record in the region. Officials stated the last reported attack occurred in October 2021. In that instance, a hunter ran into a grizzly bear and suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the attack.