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Grizzly bear in deadly Montana attack was likely guarding moose carcass

Bear Mauling-Investigation
Posted at 1:31 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 16:02:11-04

The investigation into the deadly attack by a grizzly bear of a man just outside Yellowstone National Park earlier this year found that the bear might have been defending a moose carcass - even charging at rescuers and investigators - because it recently fought off another grizzly to protect it.

According to the report by the US Fish & Wildlife Service about the attack, Charles "Carl" Mock of West Yellowstone died on April 17 of injuries sustained in the April 15 attack.

"The tragic event of Mr. Mock being attacked by an adult male grizzly bear and subsequently dying from the attack was the direct result of Mr. Mock’s own purposeful or random placed proximity to a moose carcass that an adult male bear had cached and was actively feeding on," the report said.

The report states: "After the investigation team had to kill the bear on 16 April, a moose carcass was discovered cached in the water near the site where Mr. Mock had been attacked. It was 47 yards from the cached moose carcass to the attack site. Searching the area around the moose carcass it was evident that a bear had been feeding on the moose for numerous days due to multiple and drying bear scats. It could not be determined what caused the death of the moose. Common causes of moose deaths are predation, ticks, winterkill (poor nutrition), meningeal artery worms and vehicle strikes. There were no broken long bones observed on the moose that are normally associated with a vehicle strike from nearby US Highway 191."

The 411-pound bear was shot and killed on April 16 when it charged investigators who had returned to the scene.

The report states: "Approximately 50 yards down the spur trail, several team members said they could see some brush and a small conifer move, indicating towards the northeast across an open boggy wet area. All members stopped and readied in case it was the bear and it charged. Within seconds the bear silently charged out of the brush, head down, ears back and running full out. The bear crossed the open wet area and continued charging towards the team members, running into a patch of deep rotten snow in the willows. The bear floundered in the deep snow, dug its way clear and begin to charge again. At this point the decision was made to shoot the bear."

Mock, 40 years old, was on the phone with dispatchers for 49 minutes trying to give them exact details of where he was, and told them he was taking pictures.

According to the report, a camera was found at the scene and was placed in Mock's vehicle, then a friend of Mock's took possession of the camera.

Investigators did not have the opportunity to examine the camera at the time.

When they could view the memory card on April 17, there were no pictures from the Baker’s Hole area or on the day of the attack, the report stated.

Montana man attacked by grizzly bear has died