Wyoming wildlife managers plan to take no action after a Cody man evidently stumbled upon a grizzly bear and was attacked last week.

"This appears to be a surprise encounter that occurred at close range," Cody Regional Supervisor Dan Smith said in a statement Tuesday. "The bear was likely behaving in a defensive manner resulting from an unexpected, close encounter."

Friday, Spencer Smith was shed antler hunting in the East Painter Creek Drainage when he was attacked and injured by the bear. Smith walked about a mile and a half to his ATV, where he was assisted by area Game Warden Chris Queen before being flown by helicopter to a regional hospital for medical treatment.

Once Smith was out of the area, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department began investigating the scene. Investigators found the tracks of a single adult male grizzly bear.

About 30 yards away from where the attack took place, they found a daybed in heavy cover. There was no sign of the bear in the vicinity, but evidence at the scene indicated the bear was at or near the daybed when Smith walked into the area.

When the attack occurred, Smith was hiking alone in steep, moderately heavy timber. Officials say he was unaware of the bear until it made contact with him.

Smith didn't have time to use the bear spray he was carrying on his hip, but the product seems to have saved him anyway -- the bear bit the spray canister, which ruptured and presumably caused the bear to give up.

Investigators have not been able to identify the particular bear involved in the incident.

No area closures have been implemented following the investigation. The department says it will continue to monitor bear activity and make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.

"This is a very traumatic experience for a person to go through," Smith added. "We wish Spencer the very best for a full and speedy recovery.

Laramie Live logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

NEXT UP: Casper’s Top 20 News Stories of 2019


More From Laramie Live