Veteran Remembers Grizzly Bear Attack in Wyoming

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A disabled U.S. Army combat veteran faced a grizzly bear attack on Sunday in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, recounting his harrowing fight for survival.

Burke wrote on Instagram, “I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared, and IED explosions.” However, he described his encounter with the grizzly bear as “the most violent thing I have ever experienced.”

A picture captures the veteran shortly after the attack:

Before venturing into the wilderness alone, Burke informed his wife that he would return to the parking lot in an hour. As he headed back, he took measures to make noise, attempting to avoid a bear encounter.

The hike to Taggart Lake offers stunning views of the Teton Range at Grand Teton National Park.
(NPS Photo/J. Bonney from National Park Service)

His precautions were in vain when he noticed a brown bear cub running uphill, indicating the imminent arrival of its mother.

Indeed, the mother bear soon appeared and charged at Burke upon spotting him.

“I unholstered my bear spray and witnessed the mother bear charging. I held my ground, shouted, and tried to deploy the bear spray, but she had already closed the distance,” he said, as reported by Fox News.

As he lay on the ground, the bear bit him, slashed his shoulder, stepped on his back, bit his leg, and then repeatedly picked him up and slammed him down.

Burke believed she aimed for a fatal bite to his neck when he screamed. However, his hands were still interlocked, and he managed to hold onto the bear spray can.

The bear’s jaws clamped down on the can, causing it to explode, which led her to flee toward her cubs. Burke then texted his wife, applied improvised tourniquets to his legs, and called 911. Rescuers had difficulty locating him with a helicopter. While waiting, he recorded a video expressing his love to those close to him, fearing the worst.

Eventually, crews found him, and he underwent surgery at a local hospital. He is now in recovery.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, black bears and grizzly bears possess distinct characteristics. They advise visitors to understand these differences.

Grizzly bears feature a distinctive shoulder hump, short round ears, a dished facial profile, and long straight claws that measure three to four inches.

Conversely, black bears lack a shoulder hump, have tall pointed ears, a straight facial profile, and short curved claws ranging from one to two inches long.

After the attack, which has been confirmed by officials, Burke asked park rangers not to kill the bear, understanding she was protecting her cub. Park officials have said the bear will not be euthanized, per Fox News.

“What happened on Signal Mountain was a case of wrong place wrong time,” Burke stated.

In July, a woman was found dead following a suspected grizzly bear encounter near Montana’s Yellowstone National Park, as reported by Truth Voices.

Amy Furr
Amy Furr
Pre-Viral Reporter. Amy covers human interest, politics, crime, health, faith, history, wildlife, and service journalism. Previously, she was a tutor at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, TX and a freelance writer for Townhall Media.

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