AP

Wyoming hunter shoots self while fighting off grizzly attack

Oct 24, 2022, 6:33 AM

A grizzly bear in the snow...

A hunter is recovering in a Utah hospital after being attacked by a grizzly bear in WY. The attack happened on Friday, Oct. 21. (Thomas Hollenhorst /Deseret News)

(Thomas Hollenhorst /Deseret News)

PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP) — A hunter accidentally shot himself in the leg while trying to fight off a grizzly bear attack in west-central Wyoming — the second such attack in a week’s time, officials said.

Lee Francis, 65, of Evanston, was taken to the University of Utah Health hospital for treatment after the encounter on Friday, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office said. Sue Winchester, a hospital spokesperson, said Sunday she did not have permission to release any information about Francis’ condition.

Francis was hunting with his son in an area south of Grand Teton National Park on Friday evening when the bear attacked him. He was able to fire several rounds from his handgun, causing the bear to run away, but one of the rounds hit Francis in the lower leg, the sheriff’s office said.

His son used a satellite phone to call for help just before 6 p.m., then began providing first aid. His son was able to help his father onto a horse and they headed toward a nearby lake to meet search and rescue crews. Francis was eventually taken to the hospital via helicopter, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Wildlife officials have not located the grizzly bear, Sgt. Travis Bingham with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday. Because it was snowing, Game and Fish planned to try to search for the bear again on Monday, weather permitting, he said.

Friday’s attack was the second grizzly bear mauling in Wyoming in a week.

Two Northwest College wrestlers were attacked by a grizzly bear while they were searching for antlers shed by deer and elk in the Cody area on Oct. 15.

The bear first attacked Brady Lowry, of Cedar City, Utah, breaking his arm and causing other injuries.

Kendell Cummings yelled at and kicked the bear and threw rocks at it before pulling on its ear to get it to stop. However, the bear turned its fury on Cummings, attacking him twice. Cummings, who is from Evanston, underwent several hours of surgery and ended up with about 60 staples in his head and hundreds of stitches to treat his injuries, his father said in a social media post.

Related: Drought could bring bears closer to people

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Wyoming hunter shoots self while fighting off grizzly attack