A hiker in Teton Canyon used pepper spray to fended off a reported grizzly bear Sunday, Wyoming Game and Fish officials said Thursday.
Former Colorado resident Chris Laing was hiking about a mile up the north fork of the Teton Creek Trail, the trail that goes to Table Mountain, when “he contacted a reported grizzly bear sow with two cubs of the year,” Wyoming Game and Fish Specialist Mike Boyce said.
The bear was apparently chasing Laing’s dog when it veered off and headed for Laing.
The bear charged three times before being deterred by the spray.
“The bear got as close as five feet,” Boyce said. “He sprayed the bear with bear spray on all three charges and was able to get out of there uninjured.”
Boyce said he thought the man’s dog was a factor in provoking this bear.
“The bear was just … defending her cubs,” he said.
An investigation of the incident couldn’t confirm the type of bear because of poor tracking conditions, but “the behavior that this bear displayed was confident with aggressive, defensive grizzly bear behavior,” Boyce said.
The Forest Service has since posted warning signs on the trail, but the trail is not closed.
The bear and her cubs were behaving naturally and will not be captured or killed, Boyce said.
“We’re just planning on closely monitoring the situation up there,” he said.
Boyce recommends hiking with at least one other person, making plenty of noise, keeping dogs under control and carrying a defense such as bear spray and knowing how to use it.
“That’s one thing Chris did very well,” Boyce said. “[Bear spray] was effective in this incident. He was able to get out of there without injury.”