It’s well-documented that the area around the East Entrance is a prime spot for grizzly activity: Many trails around the Clear Creek and Pelican Valley are closed because of bear activity, and this spring saw a sight uptick in bear sightings as well.
Erwin Frank Evert, 70, of Park Ridge, Ill., was found dead in the Kitty Creek area, about seven miles east of the Yellowstone East Entrance, where the bear was outfitted with the radio collar. He ignored verbal and posted warnings in the area warning about the increased dangers of bear activity, and he went there with no pepper spray or other bear defense. His body was found Thursday; the bear was killed early Saturday. Bear DNA from Evert matched the blood sample taken from the grizzly when he was outfitted with the radio collar.
It’s the first fatal mauling in the greater Yellowstone area in 25 years.
Backcountry both within the Park and outside can be dangerous places. Grizzlies, by and large, won’t come after people, but there’s always the risk they will. When Rangers and federal officials warn about the increased presence of bears in an area, their words should be heeded.
Here’s the original release from the Park County Sheriff’s office:
At approximately 6:48 PM on June 17th the Park County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a subject had
possibly been mauled and killed by a grizzly bear in the Kitty Creek Drainage located in the Shoshone
National Forest west of Cody.
The victim, 70 year old Erwin Frank Evert of Cody was reported missing by his wife to Chad Dickinson, a
member of the USGS Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) based out of Bozeman. Dickinson and
his team were working within the Kitty Creek Drainage snaring grizzly bears for research. Dickinson rode
back up Kitty Creek to an area where earlier they had caught a large adult male grizzly. Once at the
capture sight, Dickinson found Evert dead as a result of fatal injuries caused by an encounter with the
At approximately 8:30 PM Wardens of the Wyoming Game and Fish and a Park County Sheriff’s Deputy
located Evert approximately 2 miles from the road in a remote rugged area. Park County Sheriff Search
and Rescue was called in and Evert’s body was removed while Wardens provided armed security. The
recovery was completed at approximately 12:18am on June 18th.
According to the Billings Gazette, Evert knew that bear trapping was taking place in the Kitty Creek area and was aware of the risks. Even if Evert had been carrying bear spray or a firearm, it’s unlikely he would have survived: the most logical scenario has Evert surprising the bear on a windy day (when the bear could not have smelled Evert approaching) and being immediately attacked.