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No Charges In Bear Death

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No criminal charges are to be brought against three hunters who killed a grizzly bear inside Grand Teton National Park last November.  That was the decision by the US Attorney’s Office after a comprehensive investigation of the incident.  Park Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the male grizzly bear was shot as it charged the three as they were elk hunting near Teton Point Overlook, and unknowingly approached a place where the bear had cached food.  Skaggs says the overall encounter lasted less than 10 seconds. During that brief time, the hunters deployed bear spray and discharged firearms against the charging grizzly. Park rangers and science and resource management personnel believe that both the bear spray and bullets contacted the grizzly bear at nearly the same instant. The totality of circumstances indicated that the hunters were forced to make rapid decisions in close proximity to the bear, and they acted in self-defense.  Skaggs says in light of this incident involving the fatal shooting of a grizzly bear—the first ever recorded in Grand Teton National Park—park and wildlife managers are reviewing steps that might be taken to reduce such incidents in the future.

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