2 men hospitalized in Billings after being injured by a grizzly bear

Posted at 10:58 AM, Oct 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-17 15:10:18-04

Two men were injured by a grizzly bear while recreating southwest of Cody, Wyoming, on Saturday, October 15, 2022, according to a news release on Monday from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

One victim was flown by helicopter to an area hospital, and the second was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The men have been identified as members of the Northwest College wrestling team in Powell, Wyoming.

The news release says they encountered the bear at close range in heavy cover while recreating and antler hunting west of the Bobcat Houlihan trailhead on the Shoshone National Forest on Saturday afternoon.

The men were able to call 911 from near the scene and Park County Search & Rescue was dispatched. Wyoming Game & Fish Department personnel responded to the scene as well. With the assistance of a hunter in the area, a resident, and other members of their party, the two men were able to reach the trailhead where they met search and rescue and were taken from the area.

Based on the initial information, this appears to be a sudden, surprise encounter with a grizzly bear.

The two men have been identified as Kendell Cummings and Brady Lowry. The students are now at a hospital in Billings and have undergone several surgeries; both are expected to survive.

According to Cowboy State Daily, there were two other young men with the victims; all four had bear spray with them, but the bear attacked before they could use it.

“Special thanks to Park County Search and Rescue and the Park County Sheriff's office for their quick response and coordination of the rescue,” said Dan Smith, Cody Region wildlife supervisor.

Wyoming Game & Fish is in the process of gathering further details; the investigation into the incident continues.

In the last few weeks, there has been an abundance of bear activity at low elevations throughout the South Fork and North Fork of the Shoshone River, Clarks Fork River, and Greybull River drainages. Wildlife officials encourage anyone recreating in these areas to use caution and be bear aware.

“In the vicinity where the attack occurred, reports from landowners and hunters indicate there may be six to 10 different bears moving between agricultural fields and low elevation slopes,” Smith said. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.”

“This is a sad and unfortunate situation, we wish both victims a full and speedy recovery,” Smith said.