Woman Found Dead in Apparent Grizzly Attack Outside Yellowstone

Investigators have yet to find any bears in the area. Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A hiker discovered a woman’s body on the Buttermilk Trail near West Yellowstone on the morning of July 22. Tracks, wounds, and the location of the incident are consistent with a grizzly bear kill, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reports. The woman remains unidentified at this time and little is known about the incident.

FWP game wardens were notified of the body at around 8 a.m. on Saturday. Wardens, bear specialists, and other investigators found wounds on the body that were typical of a grizzly bear attack. They also found tracks from an adult grizzly bear and at least one cub in the vicinity, but they didn’t see any bears, bedding areas, or animal carcasses nearby.

The woman is believed to have been traveling alone. Investigators didn’t find any bear spray or firearms at the site, indicating that the woman had no way to protect herself from an attack.

The Forest Service immediately closed down the section of Custer Gallatin National Forest where the incident occurred. They also warned nearby residents and visitors of bear activity. Concerns over the proximity of the area to multiple homes, campsites, and high-use areas prompted responders to begin the bear capture process, although no bear has been found yet. Investigators are still searching for the offending bears both on the ground and from the air.

The Buttermilk Trail (or “Buttermilk Creek Trail,” depending on which map you look at) is located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. One of six recovery zones for grizzlies in the U.S., the GYE is home to well over 1,000 bears, which is second only to the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem in terms of overall population.

Read Next: The Clock Is Ticking as the Feds Grapple with Delisting Grizzly Bears

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing both distinct population segments and the feasibility of removing them from the Endangered Species List. That process began on February 3 and is expected to take a full year.

The post Woman Found Dead in Apparent Grizzly Attack Outside Yellowstone appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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