One person killed, two injured after bear rampages through campground near Yellowstone
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials are investigating the attacks, believed to have occurred about 2 a.m., at Soda Butte Campground in the Gallatin National Forest which left one man dead, a woman suffering severe lacerations from bites on her arms, and another man bitten on his calf. The identities and ages of the victims have not been released.
Officials are still trying to sort out how many bears were involved, and what may have caused the attack.
"The campsites are being combed for evidence," said Fish, Wildlife & Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim. "We’re not certain if it was one bear or more than one, and we haven’t determined if it was a grizzly or black bear. We’ve extracted DNA samples from evidence found on site. This will help us identify the bear or bears involved, once captured.”
"This is not typical bear behavior. It’s odd. It’s not normal," Aasheim continued.
The Soda Butte Campground as well as nearby Chief Joseph and Colter campgrounds, also in the Gallatin National Forest, have been closed.
Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials, in cooperation with Gallatin National Forest, the National Park Service and the Park County Sheriff’s Office, have been at the site collecting forensic evidence of the attacks. A number of traps also have been set in anticipation of the return of a bear. Any bear caught and tied to the attack by DNA or other evidence will be killed.
Officials from the agencies will hold a community meeting at the Cooke City Chamber of Commerce Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the incident.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: A Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks employee patrols the area where a man was killed by a bear in the Soda Butte campground early Wednesday. Officials set five culvert traps in the campground, in anticipation of the return of a bear. Credit: David Grubbs / Billings Gazette