May 24, 2007
A photographer and author from Bozeman, Montana, has been identified as the
man hurt by a grizzly Wednesday in Yellowstone National Park.
57-year-old Jim Cole has published books on the lives of grizzly bears in
Montana, Wyoming and Alaska.
Cole told rangers he was attacked by a sow with a cub while taking
photographs along Trout Creek in Hayden Valley. Despite severe injuries to
his face, Cole managed to walk two or three miles to the Grand Loop Road,
where he was discovered by visitors about 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Rangers and emergency medical personnel took Cole by ambulance to West
Yellowstone, where he was transferred to a Portneuf LifeFlight helicopter
from Pocatello and flown to Idaho Falls.
Cole remains hospitalized at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Cole was hiking alone off-trail in a backcountry area of Yellowstone which
is prime grizzly habitat. He was carrying bear pepper spray, but it is not
yet known if he used the spray on the sow. The incident remains under
This is the second time Cole has been seriously hurt in a bear encounter.
He walked out of the backcountry and took himself to the hospital after
being injured by a grizzly in Glacier National Park in September 1993.
Black and grizzly bears are active throughout the park. Rangers always
encourage visitors to hike in groups, make noise, and carry canisters of
bear spray. Park regulations also require that food, barbeque grills and
garbage be stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.
This is the first time a person has been injured by a bear in Yellowstone
National Park since September 2005. There have been eight minor bear-caused
human injuries in the park since 2000. The last bear-caused human fatality
in Yellowstone occurred in 1986