A man hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park was attacked by a grizzly bear Sunday Oct. 30, 2011. The hunter, Timothy Hix, of Jackson, escaped the attack suffering minor injuries.
The incident took place just after 11:30 a.m. on the eastern side of the Snake River between the Blacktail Ponds and the Glacier View Overlooks. Rangers have closed a quarter-mile radius around the area.
When hunting elk along the Snake River, Hix described to rangers that he was surprised when he saw a single grizzly between 5 and 10 yards away. Hix reported he unsuccessfully tried to grab his bear spray from the holster on his hip when the bear began charging at him. Hix then proceed with recommended bear safety protocol when he dropped to the ground, covering his head and remained still. The bear made contact with him immediately while biting him twice before running away from the scene.
Hix was then transported by park ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson where he was listed in “good condition” and was expected to be released Monday afternoon.
Grand Teton National Park is one of the few national parks where hunting is permitted. The 32 year-old Hix was carrying an Elk hunting permit as part of the park’s Elk Reduction Program for Wyoming area 75.The program was put into place in 1950 when it was passed by congress in an effort to regulate large elk numbers within the park.
There have already been two grizzly maulings in the past six months in the neighboring Yellowstone National Park, the first two within the park in 25 years.
Despite the rarity of bear and wildlife encounters, visitors of both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks should practice awareness and safety, especially while in the backcountry.