MOOSE, WY —National Park Service Rangers are investigating the discharge of a firearm in Grand Teton National Park. A 27-year old man from Star Valley reported that he discharged a hand gun during a bear encounter with three bears near the Jackson Lake Dam in Grand Teton National Park on the morning of Tuesday, August 25. If anyone was in this area Tuesday morning, and may have seen or heard anything that may be related to this incident, please contact Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at307.739.3301.
According to the angler’s report, he was fishing when he heard a noise behind him. He turned around to see three grizzly bears, one adult and two cubs, coming toward him. The adult bear stood on its hind legs, at which point the fisherman fired one shot into the ground to the side of the bear. The bears then turned around and departed the area. The fisherman noted that he was near the “worm hole” area of the Snake River located approximately three quarters of a mile downriver from the Jackson Lake Dam.
The fisherman went to the Signal Mountain Campground to report the incident, and later provided a full account to park rangers at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. The fisherman was issued a mandatory appearance citation for discharging a firearm within a national park. Initial reports indicate that the fisherman had bear spray, but was unable to use it.
Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are home to grizzly and black bears. Visitors may encounter a bear anywhere at any time. Park visitors are encouraged to carry and know how to properly use bear spray. No single deterrent is 100 percent effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved. Visitors are encouraged to report all bear sightings to a visitor center or nearby ranger. For more information about recreating in bear country, visit http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm.
As of 2010, visitors are allowed to carry a firearm in Grand Teton National Park in accordance with applicable state and Federal laws. Although the carrying of firearms is legal, discharge of firearms within the park is not permitted and may result in fines and/or other penalties.