Grizzly bear attacks hikers in Yellowstone Park
by Yellowstone National Park - NPS
September 19, 2005
On Wednesday, September 14, 2005, two men, hiking the North Shore Trail along Shoshone Lake in the southern portion of Yellowstone National Park, were attacked multiple times by a grizzly. The incidents occurred at approximately 3:15 p.m.
Pat McDonald, 52 of Bismark, North Dakota, and Gerald Holzer, 51 of Northfield, Minnesota, were walking along an established trail toward a backcountry campsite when they noticed fresh bear scat. They decided, however, to continue on to their campsite, but began making noise in an attempt to deter a possible bear encounter.
As they came over a knoll, approximately one-fourth of a mile from where they saw the scat, they were charged by a grizzly at full stride. Holzer, who was walking in front of McDonald, was able to side-step the grizzly. McDonald stepped behind some trees and dropped to the ground. The bear initially ran by McDonald, but then returned and swatted at him. The bear continued on to Holzer, who had dropped to the ground and was on his stomach. The bear jumped on Holzer's back and also swatted at him. The bear then retreated about 50 feet where they could hear it snorting.
From his position on the ground, McDonald began removing the wrist straps from his hiking poles in order to retrieve his bear spray from his waist belt. The bear was apparently drawn back to the site by the noise. This time the bear attacked the hiker's leg. The hiker managed to retrieve the pepper spray from his waist belt and doused the bear's face. The bear fled the area.
The men began the four-mile hike back to their vehicle at the Delacy Creek Trailhead, and proceeded to the Old Faithful Clinic for treatment.
Remarkably, the men were not seriously injured. McDonald sustained a puncture wound to his lower left leg and was treated and released; his companion was not injured, as he was protected by his backpack during the attack.
The Delacy Creek, North Shore and Howard Eaton Trails are closed to hiking. Backcountry campsites along the north shore to Shoshone Lake are open to boat access only. Visitors are reminded to take appropriate precautions when hiking in bear country. Avoid hiking alone, stay on designated trails, make noise, and be alert. Try not to surprise bears or any other wildlife while hiking, and never approach wildlife with young.