Veteran Hiker Survives Grizzly Bear Attack in Grand Teton National Park

Veteran Hiker Survives Grizzly Bear Attack in Grand Teton National Park
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Shayne Patrick Burke, a 35-year-old dis­abled Army vet­er­an and avid wildlife pho­tog­ra­ph­er, faced a ter­ri­fy­ing ordeal while hik­ing solo in Grand Teton Nation­al Park, Wyoming. Burke planned to cap­ture a Great Grey Owl before meet­ing his wife but encoun­tered a griz­zly bear cub instead.

Sud­den­ly, the moth­er griz­zly charged, attack­ing Burke despite his attempts to deter her with bear spray and shouts. The attack left him with severe injuries on his back, legs, and neck.

“She went for a neck bite,” Burke recalled, cred­it­ing his per­sis­tent use of bear spray for dri­ving the bear away. The spray can­is­ter explod­ed in the bear’s mouth, prompt­ing it to retreat.

Severe­ly wound­ed, Burke used his phone to con­tact his wife for help, then called 911. He applied makeshift tourni­quets and even record­ed a mes­sage for his loved ones, fear­ing the worst.

Res­cue efforts were com­pli­cat­ed by the park’s vast­ness (310,000 acres). Thank­ful­ly, Burke was even­tu­al­ly found and air­lift­ed to a hos­pi­tal, where he under­went surgery. Despite the seri­ous­ness of his injuries, the deter­mined vet­er­an is expect­ed to make a full recovery.

Burke’s encounter high­lights the impor­tance of griz­zly bear safe­ty in the Greater Yel­low­stone Ecosys­tem, where their pop­u­la­tions are increas­ing. Park offi­cials urge vis­i­tors to car­ry bear spray and avoid known bear habitats.

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