Friday, September 21, 2018

Bear Spray Failure at Mark Uptain Fatal Grizzly Attack in Wyoming

Photo of Grizzly by Troy Nemitz

Early reports on the fatal grizzly bear attack on guide Mark Uptain and client Corey Chubon have been confused about many details. In the initial reporting, Chubon was said to have thrown a pistol to Uptain and run away.

The attack on the bowhunter, Corey Chubon, and guide, Mark Uptain, occurred on 14 September in Wyoming.

As facts come to light, the reality is more nuanced. Many details are unclear. Mark Uptain's use of bear spray has been confirmed by investigators at the site.

Mark Uptain appears to have relied on bear spray to deter the attack. A can of bear spray, with the safety off, was found at the site. The adult sow grizzly had bear spray on her at the scene. The bear was shot and killed as she attacked investigating Fish and Wildlife personnel. From
The interagency search for the missing guide was suspended Friday evening and resumed early Saturday morning. The guide’s body was found that day, his fatal-injuries consistent with a bear attack.
An investigation found a discharged can of bear spray with the safety off near the body. It was later determined that the sow (female bear) had been sprayed with bear spray.
The evidence of the empty can of bear spray and spray on the attacking grizzly show this to be a fatal bear spray failure.

The report on the use of bear spray is clear. Other details are uncertain.

Reporters have talked to both Corey Chubon and his father, Frank Chubon. Corey lives in Florida, but Frank lives in Pennsylvania. The interviews seem to have been conducted separately.

Differences between what reporters say Corey's father said and what Corey Chubon said are adding to the confusion.  Corey's father was not on site when it happened. The father must be relying on details he heard form Corey, or from others.

One report from Orlando says that Chubon and Uptain were mounted on horses when attacked, and that Chubon was dragged off his horse and swung through the air by the sow grizzly.  But Corey Chubon says that he was not dragged from the horse. From Corey Chubon on Twitter:
This report is extremely inaccurate.. I was never grabbed from my horse, I wasn’t airlifted to the hospital, No one ever said I needed surgery on my Achillies...
A report from says Corey was flown to a local hospital:
The hunting client was flown to a local area hospital by helicopter where he received treatment for his injuries and the search began for the guide who was missing at the time of the initial response.
In an interview, Corey Chubon says he attempted to toss the pistol to Mark Uptain while being swung about by the grizzly, but the pistol did not make it to Mark.
"He swung me around in the air and at that point in time I tried to throw the gun to Mark and the gun didn't make it there," Chubon said.
Chubon reported Uptain was shouting at the bear and attempting to drive it away.

Corey Chubon's father is reported as saying Corey and Mark Uptain were using the horses to drag the elk out of the woods when they were attacked. From
Chubon's father, who was on the trip but did not go with the two to get the animal, said he was told the two men were pulling the elk's carcass out of the woods on horseback when two bears attacked. Chubon was grabbed by the ankles and tossed off of his horse, his father said. Chubon was able to point a pistol at the bear, but the animal knocked it out of his hands.

Corey Chubon has repeatedly said that he tried to throw the pistol to Mark Uptain, but it did not reach him. Corey's father or the reporter, got the detail about the bear knocking the pistol out of Corey's hand wrong.

According to Corey Chubon's father, Corey was able to get back up on the horse and ride to higher ground to call for help on a cell phone.

The father, Frank Chubon, reported it took two hours for a helicopter to arrive with help.

Was Corey mounted, and tossed off the horse?  He says he was not dragged off the horse. It is not clear if he was mounted when attacked by the bears. Was he flown to a local hospital? He says he was not airlifted to the hospital.

Investigators at the site have reported some of what they found on the ground. Brad Hovinga is the regional supervisor for Wyoming Game and Fish.
“The investigation revealed the two men approached the undisturbed elk carcass and there was no sign of bears in the immediate area of the carcass,” said Hovinga. “It was after they started field dressing the elk that the attack happened.”
More forensic evidence and information from Corey Chubon will eventually clear up some of the confusion.

Attempts to reach Corey Chubon and his father for this article have been unsuccessful.

A gofundme page has been set up for Mark Uptain's family at the link.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When a Bull attacks it lowers its head and horns, when a rattle snake is ready to strike It coils and starts rattling. When a cougar is ready to pounce it starts raising both front legs at the same time. When you see the animal go into attack mode it is time to shoot. I have never been asked by an animal to set down and talk over their fears. When you have to shoot, shoot until the threat is neutralized or you are out of ammo Make enough hits and you will have the advantage. Never carry a gun you don't know how to use well and always have something for a second weapon. Knife is good. but you never sword fight with a pen knife, carry a knife big enough to fight with. Cuts from sharp knives are better than cuts from dull knives. there has to be something mentally wrong with someone that goes looking for an animal that can easily kill you that has not prepared for the worst case scenario.