Bear Spray Fails to Stop Fatal Grizzly Attack in Wyoming

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

U.S.A. -( Early reports on the fatal grizzly bear attack on guide Mark Uptain and client Corey Chubon have been confused about many details. The attack on the bowhunter, Corey Chubon, and guide, Mark Uptain, occurred on 14 Septemberof 2018 in Wyoming. In the initial reporting, Chubon was said to have thrown a pistol to Uptain and run away.

As facts come to light, the reality is more nuanced.

Mark Uptain appears to have relied on a can of 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 and failure 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 from 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 ankle wound

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.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Imagine the agony that poor man went threw 🙁 Bear attacks are said to be one of the most painful and terrifying ways to go. They literally eat you alive. People who survive them are traumatized for life. It makes me mad when people defend the bears of such attacks. I understand a sow with cubs, but just any old bear who decides to kill and eat people needs to be shot. Period. Just the other day I saw some misanthrope commenting on Facebook on how he’s glad about all the bear attacks and hopes it continues to happen and… Read more »

Nan Keil

I’m not a hunter, and my prayers go out to his family, BUT, I’ve ridden horses in bear country and the horse always smells the bear way before we ever see it. I always carry a pistol and never ride alone. We make a lot of noise and so far, knock on wood, we’ve never had an issue . I feel about it like this, have one person as a look out and one field dressing, and that’s no guarantee. The bear reacted just as she would have had she ran across another bear with the dead elk, she’d do… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Nan K, Yes, one that goes into the ocean becomes part of the food chain, and making your horse go into bear country is making him part of the food chain, too. Just my honest observation.

Norma Jean Jalovec

I commented last week on the other thread regarding this bear attack; I am the hiker/horseback rider who frequents Turpin Meadows trailhead and knows exactly where the incident occurred. I mentioned I carry 2 firearms (one being the Glock 20 which is most likely the type of firearm that the guide had), and 2- 3 canisters of spray (each person) readily accessible and I’m a hiker – not kneeling over a carcass. Anyway…I had some suggestions in that comment that could start being implemented in the field. What is now bothering me is the attitude of WY Game & Fish… Read more »

Tony Rutherford

Norma Jean……I commented on a post you made on the Jackson Hole newspaper site…..and I agree with you. I honestly believe that Mr. Uptain had no confidence that this elk would ever be recovered. I believe he watched the arrow’s flight and impact, and knew right away that the placement was poor. I suspect he watched the elk’s reaction to the impact, studied how it left the area, studied the recovered arrow, blood, fluid, and tissue and had 0 confidence that they’d recover the animal? Perhaps, since they were losing light, they began tracking and pushed the animal and watched… Read more »


The Guide’s father stated the cavity was not opened.

Tom Uptain

I do not believe the cavity was ever opened, except by the arrow. I’m the guides father and on more than one elk recovery, he always quartered the elk without opening the body cavity. it seems to me that the bear attack was fast enough that no matter how many guns or cans of bear spray, they may not have worked. Hopefully the wyo. game and fish can come up with a better solution than a legal requirement to carry bear spray.


When hunting in Griz country, AK, Canada, MT, WY or ??? I find the best way to process an animal is to trade off with your hunting partner. One work, one watch if possible. This depends on the time and terrain but I have found the brush is usually to thick to be leisurely working. I usually just keep my head moving like a swivel. It slows down the work but keeps you safe. Another trick is to have a fire going, safely, during the process. The smoke tends to keep certain predators away plus the smoke MAY mask the… Read more »

John Dunlap

I was told by a well known gun writer who’s opinion I asked of an all ’round rifle I was thinking about, that bear spray is much more effective than firearms, leading to a better outcome for bears and people. I thought this an odd position, given that pepper spray fails on humans all the time, but took him at his word based on his years of experience in the hunting fields.That is, until I watched a video of him demonstrating bear spray, awkwardly fumbling to get the canister into action, leaving his rifle uncontrolled, precariously slung on his shoulder,… Read more »

Country Boy

There have been reports of the bear getting the sent of the spray and tracking the human/s by the odor. bears like most animals have a keener sense of smell than we humans. The spray will never kill the bear…the firearm will.
Just my 2 cents of common sense. I’ll take the firearm over the spray any day.


I agree with you. They talk about bear spray like we’re spraying away mosquitoes. I’ll take a capable gun over bear spray any day to stop a bear, thank you very much. Leave the spray for muggers and mosquitoes. They need to bring back an annual hunt on grizzlies. They are getting too bold around humans. Grizzlies should be trained again to associate man with danger, not an easy meal. I say that because these men used a silent bow and arrow to kill the elk, there was no gunfire for the grizzlies to associate with a free meal, or… Read more »

Dave Smith

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee has a video titled Bear Spray Demonstration for Hunters featuring a well-known hunter that everyone should watch because it’s such a transparent con. The hunter, a lefty, has his rifle slung over his right shoulder, and a can of bear spray attached to a shoulder strap on his pack on his left side. When he goes to shoot an elk, the bear spray will interfere when he shoulders his rifle. And you should never carry your rifle on a sling when you’re on the move in grizzly country because it will take too long to… Read more »


Who in his right mind goes into bear country unarmed (firearm not spray-what a joke)) especially Griz country! You are dealing with wild animals and basically, bug spray is not going to stop a female grizzly that has cubs around. That had to be the reason for the attack. Also, if they were mounted, the horses would have alerted to the bear’s presence before an attack. This whole story smells worse than a dead rotting carcass.


My “bear spray” would be a 12 gauge of high capacity, loaded with alternating slugs and buckshot…IF I had good reason to be in the same woods with a bear in the first place.
Condolences to the guide’s family and friends.

Don Bailey

Let’s face it. Bear spray does not work on an enraged bear of any kind. Don’t surprise the bear, and hopefully, the bear will not attack you.

Country Boy

Agreed, and evidently bow and arrows don’t work as well a firearms either.


to Country Boy FYI A bow kills by massive Blood Loss and a Rifile or handgun Kills by massive tissue and or Organ Damage also known as Shock.


An old newspaper truism is “if it bleeds, it reads.” If you can make a story more dramatic than it is, it will sell m or papers and look better on the TV news.

Joseph P Martin

Typical. The “press” in their rush to be the first to break a story publishes/broadcasts before all the facts are in and fills in the blanks with their own version. Hence we have fake or distorted or just plain wrong news.
Once again, bear spray fails miserably. Grizzly bears (and their cousins Polar and Kodiaks) are the largest land predators on the entire PLANET! You will never see an African guide in lion country with “lion spray” or a game warden in India carrying “Tiger spray” because they aren’t stupid, apparently unlike most Americans venturing into Grizzly country.

Wild Bill

Well, at least someone harvested a bear!


WTF! Why would you just depend on “Bear spray”? That’s like using CS/tear gas to stop an angry arm man, It’s NOT going to work! All they did is piss it off more!


It has happened before too. A grizzly was protecting its kill and the bear spray did not deter it, so the hunters shot it. The really sad thing about that story was that it took 10 months for the U.S. government to conclude it was a legal shoot.


Welcome to the U.S! The only country in the world that people think the animals life is worth more than a humans! Damn Fucktards!


Agreed, there are many who believe animals lives are more valuable than humans. They are the same ones who issue statements like” Well, after all, they were here first”.

Roger Selover

Just goes to show that to some bears, bear spray is a condiment.

I will never understand the “throwing the pistol” scenario unless the guide, seeing his vaunted bear spray having no effect, had zero faith in the client’s ability to aim accurately. BTW what was the caliber of the weapon?

phil morris

another excellent example of natural selection that is , bears doing what bears have been doing for millions of years , remember the story of grizzly man?, unfortunately however death is a part of life , you can try to inform the ignorant but you cannot fix the stupid , my condolences to the family of the guide and the bear.

Matt in Oklahoma

Take a lesson from tactical teams. You ALWAYS cover LTL (Less Than Lethal) with Lethal. In other words if one is launching gas or bean bags someone provides lethal coverage in case it goes south.
It’s still a good idea that everyone is armed when venturing in especially to recover something that has been in the field a day.
Hunt safe

Wild Bill

@Matt in Ok, That is an interesting theoretic. The law of self defense generally expressed is that a person can only employ deadly force to meet the deadly force of another person. So if I exhibit a non deadly weapon, and your team covers me with deadly force, then I have the Civil Right and am entitled to defend myself against whom ever on your team is exhibiting a deadly force weapon against me. Thus the law of deadly force works for me, and your team of good guys become the attackers. What happens if I defeat, using my non… Read more »


Come on Bill. Go back and read what you just wrote. Maybe you’ll see how inane it is this time.


Wild Bill

@Taj, just applying the law to a hypothetical. Based upon your response, I can not tell if you can measure the facts by the law or not.
Oh, and by the way, Texas law provides for a defense of self if a police officer uses undue force. So there is precedent.


Fake news the reporters never get the story straight!


Unfortunate for sure. When I go in grizz country my perferred bear spray is 375H&H. I do believe the guide was undergunned if all he had was bear spray (no mention of any other back up weapon) and he was guiding a bow hunter?


You are absolutely correct. We don’t know all the facts but I’m simply amazed that all they had was a handgun as backup. Perhaps someone can clear this up, is there any reason at all, during a bow season, that a guide or other member of the party cannot carry a rifle as long as they’re not the person hunting? Was it a bow only season or combo season?

Even if there was no season at all I wouldn’t be in that country without a rifle of sufficient caliber to take the largest dangerous game there.


…or in the city, for that matter!


…or in the city for that matter!

Norma Jean Jalovec

Yes, during archery season you may take a firearm into the field; you are not allowed to hunt or finish off an animal with the firearm; regulations are posted on the WY Game & Fish website. There were no less than 5 critical errors committed in the incident, however due to the sensitivity of the loss of life and the fact that it’s a local guide there seems to be a reluctance to point out mistakes that were made, ultimately contributing to the death of a guide, the mauling (although minor, but still terrifying I’m sure for the client) and… Read more »


Excellent comment, thanks so much for taking the time. Hope you won’t be a stranger to the forum.


Thoughts and prayers for the Uptain family, friends and associates. Thanks for the great comment from someone in the know. Unfortuantely, Mr. Uptain, nor Martin Outfitters fully recognized the threat of a bear encounter/attack, and that failure to be fully prepared and completely aware of the situational risks cost Uptain his life? I’ve read every account of this story I could find, and I’ve searched hard. Uptain, had time to kill the bear before it attacked but he wasn’t prepared…..because he was sharing his gun with the client……this makes no sense. The recovery took place in heavy timber…….perhaps the worst… Read more »


To Norma Jean:
Thank you for such a great comment. I think your points are reflective of a woman who knows her way around other animals and I hope other readers listen carefully‼️