Black Bear

Bear Spray Saves the Day in Yellowstone Bear Attack

This is why you carry bear spray when hiking: A Yellowstone bear attack could have been much worse had a family not purchased and used bear spray to mitigate injuries to a 10-year-old boy.

A family of four from Washington state was hiking on the Divide Trail, southeast of Old Faithful, today when they encountered a bear around 10 a.m. When the bear charged out of vegetation a half mile up the trail, the 10-year-old boy ran and was overtaken by the bear, who knocked the boy to the ground. Before the bear could seriously injure the boy, parents sprayed the bear about five feet from its face, and the spray stopped the Yellowstone bear attack. The bear then left the area.

After hiking back down the trail to the Old Faithful Ranger Station, rangers there directed the family to a nearby clinic, where the boy was treated for an injured wrist, puncture wounds to the back and wounds around the buttocks. He was transferred to the Big Sky Medical Center.

There has been a search for the bear, but so far nothing to indicate the bear species. Out of precaution, Spring Creek and Divide trails are temporarily closed.

This reinforces what hikers are repeatedly told: all of Yellowstone is bear country, and investing in bear spray is always a good investment. Bears do not seek out human interaction, with the recommendation that you stand your ground and do not run if confronted by a bear.

Interestingly, there has not been a reported incident between a bear and a hiker since 2015.

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