Man with Bear Spray Killed by Grizzly Near Yellowstone Park

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On the afternoon of 15 April 2021, Carl Mock was attacked by a grizzly bear near Baker’s Hole Campground in Gallatin County, Montana.  The campground is a few miles from the town of West Yellowstone, near an entrance to Yellowstone Park. Mock was able to dial 911. Several agencies responded to the call at about 3:42 p.m.  The first responders were able to find Mock after about 50 minutes of searching.

Mock had “sustained significant scalp and facial injuries” according to the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue Facebook page.  Localnews8.com gave more details of the injuries:

Authorities say the bear attack left him with severe injuries to the left side of his face, head and neck. Judging from his injuries, they said Mock seems to have used the proper fetal position to keep the bear from killing him, but a the bear still managed to bite out a chunk of his skull.

“I want people to know that Carl wasn’t out there… he wasn’t out there making stupid choices and like chasing after animals. He’s very aware of rules and guidelines,” Cook said.

Image from Gallatin County SAR on facebook, bear attack scene 15 April, 2021, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten www.facebook.com/GallatinCountySAR/photos/pcb.1418767205135492/1418767041802175

More information was included on an update. Mock had bear spray, the safety tab had been removed, but it was not known if it any had been sprayed.  From ktla.com:

Mock when attacked had bear spray — a Mace-like deterrent meant to protect against attacks — but officials said they did not know if he managed to use it. Bear spray canisters have safety tabs to prevent them from going off accidentally and the safety tab on Mock’s bear spray was off, Jacobsen said.

The grizzly was killed Friday after it charged a group of seven game wardens and other personnel as they approached the scene of the attack. Several people fired at the animal and it died about 20 yards (18 meters) from the group, Jacobsen said.

Officials said they are confident the bear that was killed is the one that attacked Mock.

A gofundme page was set up to cover  Mock’s medical expenses. The site had donations of $28,752 when Mock died of a massive stroke.  He faced a massive number of surgeries.

Several reports indicated a moose carcass was discovered within 50 yards of the attack site. This does not make the deadly attack on a human acceptable.

Grizzly bears have been known to be much more aggressive and dangerous than black bears since they first became known to the American government, as reported by the Lewis and Clark expedition in  1805.

Was this a failure of bear spray?  Yes.

In a conversation with Morgan Jacobsen of Montana FWP, Morgan confirmed bear spray residue had been found on the clothing of Carl Mock.  In our tabulation of pistol defenses against bears, the situation is only included if the pistol has actually been fired. The difficulties of accessing a defensive tool are similar.

If a pistol had been fired, but the bear had not been driven off, it would be counted as a pistol failure. In this case, the bear spray was sprayed, but it did not drive off the bear. Using the same criteria, the bear spray failed.

Bear spray was not used by the investigators. Jacobsen reported the bear was seen charging them from a considerable distance. It was engaged by gunfire before it came into range of bear spray.

From krtv.com:

 On Friday, a group of FWP wardens and bear specialists searched the area and encountered a large male grizzly bear. Wardens say the bear charged the group and did not respond to numerous hazing attempts.

This correspondent has not found information about what firearms were used to defend the group of investigators from the killer grizzly. In the picture of the Search and Rescue unit, one person is armed with an AR15 type rifle, another appears to have a shotgun. Morgan Jacobsen of FWP confirmed the investigators had both rifles and shotguns.

Editors Note: Mr. Weingarten has compiled extensive coverage of U.S bear attacks. Particularly the failure of carrying “bear spray” as a defense.


About 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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

34 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rodoeo
Rodoeo
5 months ago

Someone here in CO posted a video of a black bear killing a mule deer doe in their backyard last week. It took about an hour for the doe to die because of minute long breaks by the bear to catch it’s breath after chewing on the back of its neck. If you think you’re getting away any quicker than a 150lb mule deer doe, you’re not. Long, slow, painful death…

Kodiak Special
Kodiak Special
5 months ago

Terrible event, could hardly imagine it. Always carry heavy 44 magnum or better in bear country. No exceptions.

BillyBobTexas
BillyBobTexas
5 months ago

Having the Govt tell you that going into Griz Country without a firearms is preferred -but THEY won’t-makes me think of Pelosi and Schumer telling US all to go unarmed, while they are surrounded 24/7/365 by MANY armed guards. Hypocrites…. and unworthy of belief.

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
5 months ago

If you are going into the woods in bear country and you rely on just having bear spray as your defense then you are taking your own life into your own hands.
It is better to have a firearm plus bear spray as your defense, needing a weapon and not having it could be your death or serious injury waiting to happen.
If this guy was so experienced of being in the woods he should have known better, now it’s too late.

Mauser98
Mauser98
5 months ago

For 30 years, agencies have claimed bear spray is more effective than a firearm and encouraged everyone–including hunters already carrying a firearm–to use bear spray, so it’s incredibly hypocritical for agency personnel investigating a bear attack to shoot a grizzly that charges them. According to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, “Professional wildlife biologists who work in the field depend on bear spray and trust it as an effective tool to prevent injury to both people and bears.” Yea, right. If you want to stay safe in bear country, don’t do what agencies tell you–carry bear spray and know how to… Read more »

loveaduck
loveaduck
5 months ago

For each species of carnivore the liberals want released back into areas with people (grizzlies, wolves, cougars, etc.), one should be released into a city park.

DonP
DonP
4 months ago
Reply to  loveaduck

Starting with the parks in Washington, D.C. and then to the state Capitol(s) of whichever state(s) are releasing said species.

Beobear
Beobear
5 months ago

It shouldn’t be an either/or situation. Carry bear spray and a firearm and let the situation dictate which one is needed at that moment.

Being “bear aware” is always necessary but not always helpful. There’s no way to anticipate every possible scenario so always hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

DonP
DonP
4 months ago
Reply to  Beobear

There’s also the option of carrying a spray can of Lysol… and a Bic lighter. He might have second thoughts when running into a big ball of flame.

Ray
Ray
5 months ago

The only dependable bear spray is that from a firearm, and well placed shots of sufficient caliber and weight.

The Crimson Pirate
The Crimson Pirate
5 months ago

Well, if you are going to get eaten by a bear it is only polite to bring your own seasoning.

Truck
Truck
5 months ago

Don’t be an asshole.

RoyD
RoyD
5 months ago
Reply to  Truck

Life is too short; perhaps you should take your own advice.

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
5 months ago
Reply to  Truck

Truck? I knew a guy called Truck in Pontiac, IL.

Vern
Vern
5 months ago

I believe the anti gun people should, all of them, experience being in the wild and having a bear at close quarters with them and them not having a firearm, depending on a spray is like you are encouraging the animal to attack because it might not be you who gets eaten with the bears next encounter with a human, but it makes it easier for the bear to make up its mind as to whether it wants some revenge or not. I have been in the presence of wolves when hunting, I guarantee it is a hair raising event.… Read more »

Vern
Vern
5 months ago
Reply to  Vern

Absolutely!!

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
5 months ago
Reply to  Vern

My advice: When out in the woods in bear country make sure the liberal or rino you met up with on the trial cant run as fast as you.

Neanderthal75
Neanderthal75
5 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

Always wear your PF Flyers!

Rinos and socialists do not think they are ever in Vogue so they don’t wear PF Flyers ever!

Cheers from the oil patch in Central Wyoming

Vern
Vern
5 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

If you have enough gun, at my age I choose to do that, you don’t have to run. Choose the bullets you hunt with to do your running for you. Besides, you wouldn’t want to stop a bear having a little fun with some liberals would you? you might accidentally miss the bear and you wouldn’t want to do that.

DonP
DonP
4 months ago
Reply to  musicman44mag

In that case the bear spray would work just fine. Just spray the liberal/rino with the bear spray and run away from the bear.

3l120
3l120
5 months ago
Reply to  Vern

Well, they are used to bear spray, but only against cops while Antifa is protesting.

DonP
DonP
4 months ago
Reply to  3l120

And against conservative reporters/bloggers.

Quatermain
Quatermain
5 months ago

“Use enough gun” Robert C. Ruark, 1966

Montana454Casull
Montana454Casull
5 months ago

I carry my bear spray in 44 caliber or .45 caliber. My 44 magnum or 454 Casull are more effective that pepper seasoning to deter a bear attack . Some bears might like a spicy meal but they don’t like large gaping holes in thier flesh .

Z
Z
5 months ago

The bear died for nothing…we kill an animal for mauling a human…but we put murderers in prison for life with appeals….makes no sense….when you out in the woods, we are on their turf not the other way around, expect to see predators on their turf and be under their laws of predation…respect the the living predators for its their way of life…people even experience woodsman get lax in puma and bear country plus sprays don’t always work do carry a shotgun or 10mm/40, 44 or larger,..—. same as swimming in the ocean…sharks own the seas, we are just visiting their… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Z
RoyD
RoyD
5 months ago
Reply to  Z

Good luck living life with that mindset. It can be done, just not done well.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
5 months ago
Reply to  RoyD

the bear doesn’t care if he is done well or raw.

RoyD
RoyD
5 months ago
Reply to  Z

No, that is not what he is saying.

Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
5 months ago
Reply to  RoyD

He said to carry a shotgun or large caliber pistol. What’s wrong with that?

Hollis
Hollis
5 months ago

That bear charged a group of 7 individuals who were bear savvy. That is the first time I have heard of a bear attacking such a large massed group. I know a group of 5 NOLS students were attacked in Alaska, in 2011, but they were strung out on a narrow path going down to a stream, so I wouldn’t say that was a “group”. It is tempting to believe that some firearm would have made a difference. Maybe it would and maybe not. I hate to see the victim get slammed for not carrying a firearm. He lived in… Read more »

Mauser98
Mauser98
5 months ago
Reply to  Hollis

Just wondering, how do we know they were in a large massed group rather than spread out like the people in the photo? How does a large massed group (of 7), each with a shotgun or rifle in hand, move around to investigate the general area where a bear attack occurred?

DonP
DonP
4 months ago
Reply to  Hollis

“I hate to see the victim get slammed for not carrying a firearm. He lived in the area and knew his way around bears.”

It may be that he lived in the area and thought he knew his way around bears, but apparently they forgot to inform that bear. If a person does something stupid and get himself killed, who would you suggest should be slammed? There’s a phrase for that… “Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.”

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
5 months ago

That is a rough way to die. I still remember Treadwell and his girlfriend and the audiotape of their fatal attack and dismemberment. At least partially eaten alive. I value my neck and the lives of my family and friends more than a can of bear spray. I still don’t understand the insanity of why someone would go into bear, or urban varmint county, without being armed. Just makes no sense. Bad choices. Even when you are sure of yourself and have some experience to see a situation developing. Attacks happen fast, bears or otherwise. Be prepared. Arm up and… Read more »

WI Patriot
WI Patriot
5 months ago

Mmmm, “bear spray”…Just another example of WHY you should be carrying when in bear country…