Bear Encounters in and around Yellowstone

A timeline of some of the bear fatalities, maulings and encounters from in and around Yellowstone National Park. Compiled by Chronicle Staff.

Inside Yellowstone

Man supposedly attacked by female griz

1907

Supposed fatality when a man was attacked in Yellowstone by a female grizzly bear after he prodded her cub with an umbrella. (The validity of this incident is questionable.)

Man killed in roadside camp

1916

A grizzly killed a man in a roadside camp in Yellowstone.

Old Faithful fatality

1942

A person was killed by a bear at the Old Faithful campground

Man killed by feeding grizzly

1972

A man was killed by a park grizzly in the park after approaching to within 50 feet of the animal while it was feeding on food that had been left out.

Man mauled by park grizzly

June 27, 1977

Barrie Gilbert was walking fast on a treeless, 9,200 foot ridge in Yellowstone National Park, seeking a high perch where he could watch for bears with his binoculars. Suddenly, a bear appeared, rising from a day bed.

Gilbert ran, but the bear was on him fast, crunching its teeth into the back of his head, tearing the scalp from his skull and mauling his back. Then Gilbert rolled over and tried to fight. The bear tore off much of the left side of his face, including an eye.

Backpacker killed

1984

A grizzly bear killed a backpacker at a backcountry campsite on the southern end of White Lake in Yellowstone.

Photographer dies in Hayden Valley

1986

A photographer was killed by a grizzly after coming too close to the animal in Yellowstone's Hayden Valley.

Sow kills man on Wapiti Lake trail

July 6, 2011

Brian Matayosi, 57, was killed after a grizzly sow attacked him on the Wapiti Lake trail near Canyon Village in the park. The sow had young cubs, and park officials determined the attack was defensive rather than predatory.

Michigan hiker killed

August 19, 2011

John Wallace, 59, was killed after being attacked by a grizzly on the Mary Mountain Trail in Yellowstone.

Bozeman area, outside Yellowstone

Attack at Rainbow Point Campground

June 1983

In late June 1983, a fatality occurred in the Gallatin National Forest outside the park when an adult male grizzly bear attacked a camper in the Rainbow Point Campground.

Grizzly mauls two hunters

November 1996

Hunting guide Joe Heimer and a woman client were after some elk on a Friday morning in November 1996, hunting a ridgeline on the Church Universal and Triumphant's ranch just north of Yellowstone National Park.

The incident began when Heimer and Sonya Crowley crossed a little hump, their mind focused on elk, and a grizzly charged. It ended moments later, leaving both people seriously injured, the bear dead and three cubs motherless.

Two hikers attacked

May 2011

A grizzly bear attacked two hikers in the Gallatin National Forest’s Deer Creek area. They both sustained non life-threatening injuries.

Grizzly euthanized after frequenting campground

July 20, 2011

State biologists euthanized a grizzly bear that had been “frequenting” a private campground west of West Yellowstone.

Bear euthanized after aggressive behavior

August 1, 2011

Yellowstone National Park staff euthanized a grizzly bear after it aggressively approached, then charged a man sitting on the north edge of Yellowstone Lake. The man threw his pack at the bear, which tore into the man’s pack and ate the food inside.