Cody - Wyoming game and fish officials have their hands full with bear activity in Northwest Wyoming. They are looking for a grizzly bear that turned up in Cody city limits, and for another bear that mauled a hiker in the mountains northwest of Cody.
A Cody man captured three pictures of a grizzly bear in his backyard, with a camera trap over the weekend. He prefers to remain anonymous, but Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department confirms it was a grizzly bear that had been in the man’s yard eating apples.
The home is in a neighborhood on the edge of town, overlooking Sulphur Creek, which empties into the Shoshone River below Cody. Wyoming Game and Fish agents recently put down a starving mountain lion that had used the drainage to come into town.
But, this is the first time Wyoming’s Game and Fish has a confirmed sighting of a grizzly bear inside Cody City limits. They set out a trap over the weekend.
Wyoming Game and Fish Regional Supervisor Dan Smith explained, “At this time we have been unable to capture that bear, but we still believe it is in the area.”
Neighbors found bear tracks, and took pictures of the trap in a nearby backyard.
Smith said when they do capture the grizzly, they may, or may not euthanize it.
He said, “We have not made a decision on the disposition of that bear. Every bear we capture, we do on a case by case basis.”
Smith said that’s also the case in the Sunday mauling of a backpacker in the Beartooth Mountains in the Shoshone National Forest miles away from Cody. Park County’s Search and Rescue reported 48-year-old Bradley David Johnson of Plymouth, Minnesota was airlifted to Billings, where he’s been hospitalized for severe injuries to his arm, shoulder and back.
Smith described the encounter, “One of the hikers got ahead of the rest of his group. He came over a hill, surprised two bears, was attacked. Initial investigation makes us believe it was a surprise encounter.”
Smith said it is not clear whether Johnson was mauled by a grizzly, or black bear. The investigation continues in that case, with no decision yet on the bear’s fate.
Smith pointed out people should be on the lookout for bears this time of year, when they are very hungry.
He pointed out, “They’re trying to take in a bunch of calories to den for the winter. So, we just encourage people to be Bear Aware when they are out. Keep their eyes and ears open. Carry some type of deterrent, whether it is bear spray or a gun.”
Smith said the bear involved in the backcountry mauling has not been captured.