Backcountry Guide Killed in Grizzly Bear Attack Near Yellowstone

Carl Mock, a 40-year-old backcountry guide and photographer, was mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park on Thursday afternoon. After undergoing several surgeries, Mock died of a massive stroke at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Saturday morning, according to his family’s GoFundMe.

The attack was first reported to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon at 3:42 pm. After a 50 minute off-trail search, rescue teams were able to locate Mock and transport him to Idaho Falls where he received treatment for severe injuries to his face and hand. Local ABC 8 News reported that “Mock seems to have used the proper fetal position…but the bear still managed to bite out a chunk of his skull.”

According to officials, “The man had bear spray with him, but it’s unclear whether he was able to deploy it during the attack.” Mock was attacked just south of Baker’s Hole Campground, three miles north of West Yellowstone.

In an interview with Local 8 ABC News, Mock’s family described him as someone who has great respect for wildlife and “wasn’t out there making stupid choices and like chasing after animals. He’s very aware of rules and guidelines.” According to his family, Mock was on a hike to take photos, but didn’t even have his camera out at the time of the attack. “For this to happen to Carl,” his sister said in the interview, “it truly makes you aware that this could happen to anyone at any time because he knows more than most.”

Grizzly Shot Dead After Charging Investigators

According to a statement released by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks department (FWP), a group of seven investigators visited the area where the attack took place on Friday to assess the ongoing risks to public safety.

The group included FWP game wardens and bear specialists as well as Forest Service personnel. According to the statement, “The group yelled and made continuous noise as they walked toward the site to haze away any bears in the area. Before they reached the site, a bear began charging the group. Despite multiple attempts by all seven people to haze away the bear, it continued its charge. Due to this immediate safety risk, the bear was shot and died about 20 yards from the group. The bear was an older-age male grizzly.”

Officials believe that the grizzly was defending a food source as a moose carcass was found within 50 yards of Thursday’s fatal attack. The Forest Service issued an emergency closure of the area which is still in effect.

Grizzly Attacks Very Rare in Yellowstone

According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone has seen 118 million visitors since 1979. In that time, 44 people have been attacked by grizzly bears, making the chances of an attack 1 in 2.7 million. The chances are significantly lower, 1 in 26.6 million, for park visitors who camp at roadside campgrounds.

For information about grizzly bear safety, visit igbconline.org/bear-safety.

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