One Dead After Grizzlies Attack Elk Hunters in Wyoming

Mark Uptain was killed by a grizzly bear on Friday while guiding an elk hunt. (Photo: GoFundMe for Mark Uptain’s Wife & Kids)

One man has been killed and another sustained serious injuries after a grizzly bear attack in Wyoming on Friday.

Authorities at the Teton County Sheriff’s Office said Florida resident Corey Chubon and local guide Mark Uptain were field dressing an elk that Chubon had shot with a bow the previous day. While packing the elk, two grizzly bears approached the hunters, one of which attacked. Chubon was able to escape, but search and rescue found Uptain’s body the next afternoon.

“This is a tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and friends,” said Brad Hovinga, Jackson regional wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The hunters found the elk’s body undisturbed, Hovinga said in a press release, which rules out food guarding as a motivation for the attack.

“This type of bear behavior is not consistent with what we would normally see, especially from a family group,” Hovinga said. “It is more typical for bears to behave in a defensive manner to protect a food source, cubs and their personal space in a surprise encounter.”

Authorities said in a separate press release that a sow (female grizzly) first attacked Uptain. Chuban was able to run to his pack a few yards away and retrieve a pistol, but was unable to safely fire a shot at the bear. The sow suddenly spun, charged Chubon, grabbed his foot, and dragged him to the ground. He sustained injuries to his leg, chest, and arm, but was able to throw the gun to Uptain and get loose before running from the scene to phone for help. The second bear, later determined to be a yearling, did not engage either Chubon or Uptain.

SEE ALSO: Federal Judge Blocks Grizzly Hunt Two Days before Opening Day

A later investigation also found a discharged can of bear spray with the safety off near the body, which investigators determined had been used on the sow.

Wyoming Game and Fish have since killed two bears believed to have been involved in the attack. Authorities set foot snares in the dead elk’s vicinity and found a yearling grizzly caught in the trap the next day. While investigating, Game and Fish personnel were charged by the sow, who they shot and killed. After the yearling was “determined to be involved in the attack,” it was euthanized.

Mark Uptain was a father of five, a small business owner, and a hunting guide for Martin Outfitters.

In a recent interview with the Jackson Hole News&Guide about his business, Uptain said he spent his free time with his wife, Sarah, and their kids, serving on the board of elders at First Baptist Church, riding horses, hunting, fishing, biking and playing chess.

Shortly after Uptain’s death, Rauli Perry, a family friend, created a GoFundMe page in his name.

“I know I can’t take away the pain,” Perry says on the page, “but if we can help support Sarah to be able to focus on the kids and not worry about finances.”

So far they’re well on their way. In the three day’s since the page’s creation, donors have raised over $122,000.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Lying Bastard March 23, 2021, 11:26 am

    Vikings had a say, “never be more than 2 steps from your sword.”

  • Skull October 5, 2018, 11:59 am

    We have small numbers of black bears, and many mountain lions, where I hunt, and this is exactly why I ALWAYS carry a powerful sidearm (at my side, not in a pack) while bowhunting. Many times the laws in various states will prohibit a bowhunter from carrying a “firearm” while bow hunting, unless the bowhunter also has a firearms tag. But, I say BS to that and carry it anyway, as I would rather be alive, and go to court over that issue, than comply and be dead, or badly maimed.
    I read that one of the men did have a pistol, but it wasn’t readily available, and milliseconds count in such a situation. The bear spray can be effective on some bears, but not all, so a powerful sidearm is preferable.

  • doug basmajian October 4, 2018, 11:03 am

    Both of these comments are right on. You can never be to careful when dealing with true carnivores. That’s why non-residents in AK must pay guides. To many people think they are dealing with “Bo-Bo”the bear in cartoons till they end up in a pine box if there’s anything left of them. ALLWAYS have someone standing over you’re game kill watching as you clean it. Remember also about hungry cats.

  • DB October 4, 2018, 1:33 am

    Read the official report, sport bailed on the guide and rode away, sport had a handgun and tried to toss it to the guide! Draw your own conclusions!

  • A.K. October 3, 2018, 8:58 am

    Complacency kills. Ever heard of a Kenai Chest Holster?… Drop leg holster?… don’t want to get blood on it?… don’t worry about it while field dressing, blood comes off easy. It’s a lot easier than running to your pack way more than an arm’s length away. This scenario is what I fear the most and I have been called “Too Paranoid”. You have to prepare for this scenario like a battle drill… this way you don’t just come to the realization that you can’t get off a shot and then waste seconds when you can position your self better while simultaneously getting off a deafening warning shot that might cause a split second pause or flinch. Oh… and what if the bear is deaf? what if it doesn’t even flinch?… another reason I am called too paranoid. I told my brother that if you have to shoot me to kill the bear then do it and that he is next anyway. A hunter safety course should require a visit to the zoo where you actually stand feet away from a few wolves and a grizzly and then be asked what would you do if you found yourself right here right now without the fence? The wolves and grizzly already have a plan.

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