Yet another visitor was cited for bad Yellowstone behavior, as an Illinois woman has been charged in U.S. District Court for a variety of offenses related to purposely approaching bears well within the legal limits.
According to U.S. District Court in Yellowstone, Samantha Dehring of Carol Stream, Illinois, is charged with feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife, while also violating closures and use limits. Her assigned court date is Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. in Mammoth.
Dehring created a stir on social media May 15 while visiting Roaring Mountain area. There, she joined a group of tourists observing a sow bear and her two cubs. While other visitors retreated, video footage shows Dehring approaching the sow within 15 feet–far closer than the 300 feel specified in Yellowstone rules. That led to action from the National Park Service. From the Billings Gazette:
Video of the encounter was widely shared on social media. On May 25, the park posted a photo of the woman on its Facebook page along with a plea for tips that could help identify her. On the same day, Dehring unfollowed the park’s Facebook page, according to charging documents.
A tip from someone who had seen a posting of the video with the suspect’s name tagged led to her identification, court records state. Investigators got a warrant to search Dehring’s Facebook page where she had posted photos of the bears with the caption “absolutely floored by the beauty of this place.”
The legal docket relating to bad Yellowstone behavior by visitors in 2021 has been quite lengthy, as you can see from the list of related articles. We’re not sure whether folks are truly behaving more badly when compared to previous years, or whether the prevalence of camera on smart phones is allowing more offenses to be captured. Or both.
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