Update: Fatal Grizzly Bear Attack on Mark Uptain, Bear Spray Failure, Throwing Glock

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Some of the confusion and fog surrounding the fatal bear attack and failure of bear spray in Wyoming has cleared. The investigators have done their job, and much was learned from the evidence on the ground. The attack occurred on Friday afternoon, the 14th of September, in the Teton Wilderness in Wyoming, near Terrace Mountain.

The hunter, Corey Chubon, and Mark Uptain, the guide, had almost finished processing the 4×4 elk. Mark Uptain, the guide, was attacked first, as he was cutting off the elk's head.  The 250-pound sow grizzly gave no warning. She was first seen in an all-out charge downhill. As the bear mauled Uptain, Corey Chubon, the client, accessed a pistol at their packs, a few yards uphill from the elk.

The pistol involved did not belong to Chubon, the bowhunter who had shot the 4×4 elk.  It belonged to Mark Uptain. Corey accessed the pistol, but could not get it to fire. As he was attacked, he tried to throw the pistol to Mark Uptain.

The pistol never reached Mark. The pistol was a Glock, most likely a Glock 10mm, which is becoming a popular choice for bear protection.  From trib.com:

As the bear first hit Uptain, who carried bear spray in a hip-slung holster, Chubon went for a Glock that his guide had left with their gear a few yards uphill. For some reason, he could not get the handgun to fire. When the female grizzly diverted her attention away from Uptain and toward the Floridian, he tossed the pistol to his guide. Evidently, it didn’t make it to Uptain, who was a lifelong elk hunter, small-business owner and family man.

Within moments, the bear turned back toward Uptain. Chubon, whose leg, chest and arms were lacerated by the bruin, ran for his life. His last view of Uptain, which he relayed to investigators, was of the guide on his feet trying to fight off the sow.

Was a round chambered in the Glock? Many guides insist on carrying pistols, or firearms generally, without a round in the chamber. This can work if you diligently practice chambering a round when you draw the pistol.

If you are unfamiliar with semi-automatic pistols, you may not know how to chamber a cartridge, especially while being mauled by a grizzly.

In 45 years experience of pistol instruction, I have found it common for inexperienced people to lack basic knowledge about how to load pistols.

Throwing a pistol you are unfamiliar with, to the owner who knows how to use it, is reasonable if you cannot make the pistol fire.

In a similar situation  12 years ago, use of a pistol to defend against a grizzly was almost thwarted because the client could not figure out how to extract the pistol from the guide's holster.  Once he extracted it, he killed the charging grizzly at a distance of 10 feet. The bear fell three feet from him.

In the attack in Wyoming, Corey Chubon escaped the attacking grizzly and ran to the horses, which were tied uphill. He mounted a horse and rode to the top of the nearest ridge, where he was able to make a cell phone connection and direct rescuers to the scene. They arrived that afternoon in a helicopter. Corey's father said it took two hours.

At some point, Mark Uptain emptied the bear spray he had in a holster on his thigh at the attacking grizzly. The investigators could smell the bear spray on the attacking grizzly's head a day later when she had charged them and they had killed her.

Mark's body was found about 50 yards uphill from the remains of the elk carcass. It appears he had walked the 50 yards. The bears had attacked him again in that location and had killed him with bites to the head.

The rescuers had found the elk carcass following directions from Corey Chubon, by 7 pm on Friday evening. We may never know if Mark Uptain was still alive at that point. He was probably in the timber, 50 yards away uphill. The Glock was later found a  few yards uphill from the elk. The rescuers made the decision to return to base in the helicopter, without a team searching the site of the elk carcass.

There was less than an hour of daylight left. It has not been reported if any of the rescue team in the helicopter at 7 pm were armed.


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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    ClaudeEmgstacey hartmanTony Recent comment authors
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    g
    Guest
    g

    POS hunter ….now he was the pray good!!!

    Em
    Guest
    Em

    G: You are an absolute MORON.

    Norma Jean Jalovec
    Guest
    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 »

    Claude
    Guest
    Claude

    You say it’s so important that eveyonw learn what you claim are thr 5 errors made, yet you don’t lis the 5 errors you claim were made. If you want to help others,. why do you not spell them out? Turkey.

    Don Brush
    Guest
    Don Brush

    Very sad. May God heal this family from their great loss. Sincere condolences to all involved.

    jacquie
    Guest
    jacquie

    What I don’t get, is why the ” Experts ” keep saying, that they’ll never know why this bear attacked? What the hell ? Because they’re bears… Grizzly bears ! That’s what they do when you’ve got something they want, like a tasty Elk… and sometimes for no reason at all ! It just bothers me the way these people think they know what these bears are going to do and how they’re supposed to act . There’s a reason so many of them were killed years ago, because, they are easily agitated, and fierce enough to take on multiple… Read more »

    Ruth Stewart
    Guest
    Ruth Stewart

    Totally agree with you, Jacquie! These bears are nothing but nasty! Remember Tim Treadwell??

    Scotty Gunn
    Guest
    Scotty Gunn

    I have read many articles and posts to articles about an empty chamber being best for carry. This just showed how stupid that is.

    Joe
    Guest
    Joe

    When we went out hunting in the tundra, always had an armed guy with his head on a swivel guarding the guy dressing. 12 guage with 1.5 oz slugs and everybody carried a 44 magnum. We knew we were in their backyard, albeit a million acres of it. When you see pad prints the size of a correll dinner plate, see a smaller grizzley stretch 9.5 ft, and ccaws over 4 inches, you gain that knowledge you are not top of the food chain, but definately on the menu. The guy dressing had his gun within reach. Where I lived,… Read more »

    circle8
    Guest
    circle8

    Spray does not work when the animal and or the man is relied up. Their senses are overpowered by anger, fear or what ever. Sad situation all around. What ever actually happened will not be known but it appears something was not planned correctly. God Bless Mark Uptain and his family.

    Joker
    Guest
    Joker

    When fudds go hunting…

    Joseph P Martin
    Guest
    Joseph P Martin

    I wonder why there isn’t Lion spray in Africa or Tiger spray in India? Grizzly bears are the largest land predators in the world. Do you think the folks in Africa and India realize something that we in the USA are missing?

    Ralph Koechert
    Guest
    Ralph Koechert

    I believe this was an archery hunt so no long gun. Bear spray studies in Alaska show the spray is more effective at deterence than hand guns. On elk hunts in Wy and Mt the guides carried neither spray or handguns. I ALWAYS had bear spray on my belt. However never saw a bear neither did any of the other hunters in camp. Sad story.

    Dan in Detroit
    Guest
    Dan in Detroit
    Brad66
    Guest
    Brad66

    “Spray is more effective at deterrence than handguns.” Not in this case, nor any other. A proven fact.

    stacey hartman
    Guest
    stacey hartman

    A recent study found that pepper spray is only 50% effective on HUMANS!

    Domino
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    Domino

    Keith N Koch, They were bowhunting.

    Mike
    Guest
    Mike

    I feel that there should be a movement to seek legal action against animal rights protection groups that stopped the grizzly hunt. It would not help Mr. Uptain at this point but maybe some one else. Also seek damages for his death from these groups. I noticed complete crickets from these groups when incidents happen like this. What the animal rights protection groups don’t understand is the biology of the creatures they seek to protect, they use an emotional plea with out science. This intern endangers the people who are in the field and in towns where wildlife becomes brazen… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Mike, Do you think that the animal rights crowd would care, even if they did understand?

    robb myers
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    robb myers

    Two guys go hunting in the wilderness. Two guys know that they are in the wilderness. Two guys know that larger predators are also in the wilderness. Two guys attacked by large predator in the wilderness. Your response is to blame and Sue the people that try to preserve endangered species. Species that are endangered most of the time because of human intrusion. Do I need to explain any further how ridiculous this is? Here’s a thought, I don’t know, if the threat of being killed by a grizzly bear bothers you maybe don’t go hunting for trophy animals in… Read more »

    durabo
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    durabo

    Carrying a modern semi-auto in Condition 3 is suicidal! Under the stress of combat, one’s hands are transformed into sweaty, ten-thumbed paddles. When I went trough the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Posse gun phase, I was advised to load a round [d in the chamber, , close the action and then insert a fully loaded magazine into the grip. It is IMPOSSIBLE to experience a NEGLIGENT* discharge with a Glock, unless the trigger is fully cycled in that safe action pistol.

    Durabo

    * The only ACCIDENTAL discharge I ever experienced was the first time I had sex

    John A Jameson
    Guest
    John A Jameson

    Another case of someone not being familiar with the how and the why of handguns and how to operate them. If you’re going into the wilds, it behooves you to be armed and fully trained on how to use it and how to correct misfires. The guide should have shown the bowhunter how his 10mm operated.

    J. Thornton
    Guest
    J. Thornton

    The magazine in the pistol came out while the client was handling it. Even if the pistol could have been reached by Uptain, it would have done no good. Uptain was able to make it up hill, 30-40 yrds, that is where the sow followed up with deadly force. The bear spray was all over BOTH bears, showing aggression by both of them. Confirming why it was no question to take them both down. Also, the sow made a full charge at the investigators when they went to the location, the sow was taken down by all 4 investigators when… Read more »

    Mike
    Guest
    Mike

    That is the very reason my back up is a revolver

    Scotty Gunn
    Guest
    Scotty Gunn

    So, five or six rounds versus 15? plus 5-8 seconds under stress to reload, maybe more.

    Mike
    Guest
    Mike

    A .454 castellated super red hawk

    Mr. Walkker
    Guest
    Mr. Walkker

    Train, train again and train some more. Muscle memory is the key here. Add in the issue of semi-auto Stove Pipe Rounds jamming a in a breach slide, and here we have the perfect conditions, hence making of the recipe for a disaster. I have been there, seen semi auto malfunction happen numerous times.Why risk your life to a common problem? The answer is a large framed Revolver. such as a Ruger Redhawk or a Ruger Super Redhawk, chambered in 10MM or better yet, 45 Long Colt. Pull trigger, gun goes bang. Problem solved. You live to see another day.… Read more »

    M Leake
    Guest
    M Leake

    It wasn’t his gun. Therefore it was not a training issue for the hunter.

    It does make one wonder why the guide, whose gun it was, would not carry it holstered, on his person.

    John Floyd
    Guest
    John Floyd

    …probably because butchering elk in bear country has become routine for the hunting guide (probably harvesting 5+ elk per year) without any issues with bears whatsoever causing him to lower his guard believing there would never be an issue he couldn’t tackle…. then bam! …a bear faster than a speeding bullet jumps out of the bushes with zero reaction time to shoot from the hip. My guess.

    Tony
    Guest
    Tony

    John Floyd I believe you hit the nail squarely on the head with your comment. I suspect the guide had little confidence that they’d ever recover the carcass anyway? Hidesight is seldom less than 20/20……but I have to believe that opening the cavity was the most critical error?

    Keith N Koch
    Guest
    Keith N Koch

    I can’t understand why the hunter even bothered with a handgun in this incident. He had just shot and killed an adult Elk, I am assuming with a rifle of sufficient caliber to successfully take the Elk. So rather than retrieving a handgun (be it a 10mm or not) and then waste time fumbling with the handgun before discarding it when unable to operate said weapon, why didn’t the hunter just employ the long gun used to dispatch the Elk? The hunter was obviously familiar with the operation of the rifle. While I am not privy to the details of… Read more »

    james
    Guest
    james

    Bow hunting.

    Vanns40
    Guest
    Vanns40

    I’m guessing you didn’t bother to read the story either time it appeared here? It was a BOW HUNT, not firearm.

    Wayne Clark
    Guest
    Wayne Clark

    He was bow hunting & killed the elk in that manner. No rifle was present the way I read the original story, hence, the pistol. Should have been on the owner (the guide), not in the backpack…but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

    Old Handloader
    Guest
    Old Handloader

    I believe it has been mentioned earlier that this was an Archery Hunt. Therefore, no High-Powered Rifles were present. Lessons learned: Each and every person in the hunting party needs to be ARMED with the largest and highest powered handgun they are capable of using on VERY SHORT NOTICE. Said Handgun must be fully loaded and holstered on their persons; hip holster or some chest sling configuration where they can get it in action FAST. This must become standard drill and training for anyone going in a wilderness area. I am 68 and I can tell you I am always… Read more »

    RetiredSOFguy
    Guest
    RetiredSOFguy

    Did you miss the references to the “bowhunter” who killed the elk?

    Mr. Walkker
    Guest
    Mr. Walkker

    Thanks for that reminder. In my 60’s now with hoary frost on my chin. Regardless, in years gone by, when I have bow hunted for WT, or Bull Elk, I always have packed a large cal. revolver on my person, The Alaskan chest rig holster by Ruger, it fits the bill and makes access to the wheel gun quickly. Where I live in the Cascade Range, Black Bears and Cougars are many…..like I have said, we are in their domain, Much respect for that. My Old Man (RIP) taught me long ago about Territorial and Predator behavior. Look for food… Read more »

    Hey-Lufer
    Guest
    Hey-Lufer

    It is extremely dangerous and downright FOOLISH to be in the woods, where you know for sure bears are out and about and you do not have a stout pistol and rifle ON YOUR PERSON, not in a bag, not 25 ft. away or anything as dumb as that my lord, come on people, WTF are you thinking seriously?? I guess if you roll the dice that way and you loose, well, you become a bear tooth-pick it seems. . . . .

    TOM CLAYCOMB III
    Guest
    TOM CLAYCOMB III

    I do not trust bear spray. It only works 50% of the time. The reason I say 50% of the time is because half the time the wind will be in the wrong direction. I do a lot of bear hunting and could go forever but notice, the people that really push bear spray care more about the bears not being killed than about me living.