Bear in fatal attack near Yellowstone may have kept food
HELENA, Mont. – A grizzly bear that fatally mutilated a Montana man near Yellowstone National Park this spring was likely defending a moose carcass and may have continued to aggressively guard the cache – charging rescuers and investigators – due to a recent bout with another grizzly bear, investigators theorized.
Charles “Carl” Mock, 40, of West Yellowstone, was attacked by bear near Baker’s Hole campground, about 2.5 miles north of West Yellowstone on April 15. He called 911 just before 3:45 p.m.
Mock was able to deploy bear spray, but the 411-pound male bear remained in the area, charging and chasing rescuers, according to the investigation into Mock’s death which included information from federal, state agencies. and local. The 20-year-old bear was shot after tasking a team of wildlife investigators who returned to the scene the next day.
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A study of its gastrointestinal contents found moose hair, cartilage and muscle tissue, as well as other tissue that was later determined to be from another grizzly bear, investigators said.
The grizzly’s tissue and its location in the bear’s lower stomach suggest that the bear “may have had a very recent fight with another grizzly bear defending the moose carcass or fought to take the moose carcass of another grizzly bear, “the report says. “If so, these interactions could have contributed to the overall aggressive (bear) defense of the moose carcass” to Mock, the initial search and rescue personnel and the investigation team.
Mock, a backcountry guide, was on the phone with dispatchers for 49 minutes as he attempted to direct searchers to his location. He told a dispatcher he took pictures.
Mock’s camera, which was found at the scene of the attack, was placed in his vehicle, and friends removed his vehicle from the area. Investigators did not have a chance to examine the camera at that time and when they looked at the memory card on April 17, there were no photos of the Baker’s Hole area or the day of. the attack, according to the report.
“It is not known if any footage was deleted prior to my sighting as control of the camera was lost,” Montana Game Ranger Robert Pohle wrote in his report.
Mock sustained a serious head injury and was transported by ambulance to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he underwent major surgery. He died two days after the attack, having not spoken to investigators.
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On April 16, seven investigators and a dog hiked the area, aware that the bear might still be around and if it did charge them it might have to be killed, the report said.
The team stopped, fired bursts of crackers, and yelled several times as they walked through the area. As they approached a wet swampy area, they could see brush and a small tree moving.
“All members stopped and prepared in case it was the bear and it charged,” the report said. “Within seconds, the bear charged silently out of the brush, upside down, ears back and running at full speed.”
The bear was briefly slowed down by thick snow before making its way and resuming charging.
Pohle’s report said he and two other people had announced that they were going to shoot the bear. A forest service officer fired a few shots to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering from the bear as well as to protect the public.
It was not clear whether Mock knew the carcass was in the area or why it was there, Pohle wrote.