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Guide mauled to death by grizzlies during elk hunt


Grizzly Bear
Photo credit: Dreamstime

Two Wyoming grizzly bears are dead following the fatal mauling of an elk hunting guide last week. Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) officials euthanized the mother and cub that they say are responsible for killing guide Mark Uptain and injuring his client, Corey Chubon of Florida. The incident occurred last week near the border of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks just north of Jackson Hole, USA Today reports.

Uptain was guiding Chubon on an archery elk hunt, but, after Chubon’s shot, the men couldn’t immediately find the downed elk. The attack occurred after Chubon, who killed the elk last Thursday, and Uptain finally located the animal the following day. The bears charged the men and, while Chubon says he grabbed his pistol he “wasn’t able to safely fire at the bear who was at that time on top of Uptain,” according to USA Today. Chubon chucked the gun towards Uptain and then fled the scene to call authorities. Chubon suffered leg, chest and arm injuries that required a brief hospital stay and was released the same day Uptain’s body was found.

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However, according to Teton County officials, the elk had been left untouched by the grizzly bears. Now, WGFD says that they are using forensic testing to confirm that these two bears were not only responsible for Uptain’s death but also to see “if they had any underlying health issues or had previously been relocated by wildlife officials,” USA Today reports.

Ironically, this attack comes just weeks after a federal judge blocked Wyoming’s first grizzly bear hunt in 44 years – a hunt that WGFD had planned to use to help manage grizzly bear populations, which some say are too large and too close to humans. That hunt is currently “on hold” until Oct. 1.

Uptain ran his guide business out of Casper, Wyoming. He leaves behind his wife and five children.


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Tony R. - posted 9 months ago on 09-21-2018 10:27:09 am

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Uptain family, friends and associates.

I have to wonder if the outfitter was made aware of the planned tracking and recovery expedition, and if so, what guidance was offered? I just can't get it to make sense that any licensed outfitter who provides guided hunts in grizzly bear country would have allowed this recovery activity to be conducted by just Uptain, and Chubon, and with only one firearm? Why didn't the outfitter insist on at least one additional person as lookout?

I've read that the elk was found in heavy timber....which is probably as dangerous an environment as exists? If so, why was the carcass gutted, and skinned? Nothing in the cavity would have been fit to eat after the elk has been dead for nearly 24 hours anyway?

Sadly nothing can bring Mr. Uptain back, but preparation, awareness and a grizzly encounter plan may have prevented his departure?

So sad. Hopefully we all learn from this experience?

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 09-19-2018 11:24:01 am
Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 09-19-2018 11:22:42 am

Does anyone know the guide and what his experience was? Seems like the hunter has not publicly told the full story of EXACTLY what happened. I wonder what the full write-up was that he told the DOW.

I understand the running away part. Its human nature. Run and live or stay and die. Its a no-brainier especially if you have a gun that isnt operable. Its every man for himself at that point.

But who's gun was it? Why wasn't it loaded? Or was it? Was it in the backpack?

I guess it would help me understand how it all went down and knowing this may shed some light to other people who hunter in the area on how to prevent something like this from happening in the future.

My wife would want closure and questions answered even if it was hard to hear. She would want to know.

For all we know he may have personally called to widow and explained exactly what happened with the fumbling of the gun part of the story. It was the one thing that might have saved him.

I'm certainly not judging anyone thats for sure.

Mike S. - posted 9 months ago on 09-19-2018 11:14:48 am

Uptain’s client, Corey Chubon of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., told Orlando’s WKMG-TV that he pointed a pistol at one grizzly but that the animal knocked it from his hands and “swung me around in the air.” He said he then tossed the pistol to Uptain before mounting his horse and riding to a higher area with cellphone service.

Mike S. - posted 9 months ago on 09-19-2018 11:09:22 am

here is some more detail: apparently the pistol wasn't loaded. Not sure why he wouldn't try to jam the gun in the bear 's body that was bitting his leg.

Mike S. - posted 9 months ago on 09-19-2018 11:03:39 am

@jacobT maybe the initial attack did the all the damage and then the hunter got the gun out and tossed/chucked it the guide. maybe the bear came in unnoticed and attacked then moved off in the trees/brush and the hunter couldn't get clear shot so he tossed or chucked the gun to the guide. The articles are very vague on details "couldn't get a clear shot" makes you think the bear was on top of the guide but maybe it wasn't the case the bears where in the brush.

Jacob T. - posted 9 months ago on 09-18-2018 01:09:53 pm
Lehi, UT

He had a what a pussy

Mike S. - posted 9 months ago on 09-18-2018 10:58:37 am

Its hard to trust the media and their and summarizations of what happened. Tossed, chucked/near to the guide or tossed/thrown to the guide are some the different summaries I’ve seen. It’s sucks and is so tragic. It’s easy to speculate and given the state of media professionalism in the US it is hard to know if the entire story or all applicable details are being given. We shouldn’t judge anyways, none of us were there. Just because the articles sounds like the hunter chose an option of self interest or what some may consider a cowardly act it doesn’t mean it went down that way. One poorly or incorrect media article that all the other media writers use as their source can lead to a giant misassupttion or misrepresentation of the actual facts and true story. I feel and pray for all involved and affected by this.

SETH D. - posted 9 months ago on 09-18-2018 03:59:19 am
Sunny New Mexico

James F. You are probably right.

Travis W. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 09:07:16 pm

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department emailed out information on this today. It noted that an investigation found a discharged can of bear spray with the safety off near the body. It was later determined that the sow had been sprayed with bear spray.
Not so sure the bear spray was the best option in this case. Such a sad story.

James F. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 03:15:28 pm

The only thing I smell is Seth being speculative and overly judgmental, which is really easy sitting in front of a screen. Mostly likely we would have smelled the turds in his pants if he was in the same situation
Clayton H. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 02:48:43 pm

Sounds like bear spray would've been the best option.

SETH D. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 11:17:13 am
Sunny New Mexico

I lived the majority of my life that was not in the military in Casper, Wyoming. So this is hitting a little too close to home.

If he had a pistol, he had a an opportunity to save the guides life. His elk hunt that he paid for, in bear country got a little too real for him and he let a man die.

Maybe they both would have died, maybe they both would have lived.

We weren't there, but when I think about bad situations, and bad decisions a ton were made.

One or two bad decisions put 3 SEALS on a mountain top and now everyone in the world knows who the Lone Survivor is.

I have 4 daughters and a grandson. I can't imagine the pain this family is going through right now.

Did anyone see the Lance Kronenberger video on Kuiu where he talks about guiding bowhunters in bear country?

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 09:20:11 am

Sad news. I feel for the family of the man who died.

Who in their right mind goes into a kill site in known grizzly territory without their guns drawn. Sounded like it was in the backpack? Going in on an elk kill without the protection of a shotgun/rifle/large pistol is very foolish.

To the naysayers calling the man a coward. I guarantee if it came down to you running and living or staying and dying you would run. I'm not justifying the mans actions. Just saying...human survival instinct would kick in and you would run especially after you launched the pistol out through the woods.

In an intense situation like this, things fall apart quickly and human instinct takes over.

Takeaway message here folks - Dont Track a wounded animal in known grizzly bear country without multiple weapons drawn.

Sad story.

Joseph G. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 08:41:19 am
Townsend, MT

I feel for the guides' family. Here he was trying to protect his client from the bear and ended up paying the ultimate sacrifice. My question is, if you were in this situation, wouldn't you stay and help ward off the bear instead of throwing your gun at your guide? Something just ins't right here.

As for the judge who blocked the Grizzly bear hunt, he should feel some remorse over this situation and come to his senses and let them hold the hunt.

SETH D. - posted 9 months ago on 09-17-2018 08:29:42 am
Sunny New Mexico

I smell yellow, anyone else?