Full Can of Bear Spray Used in Fatal Bear Attack

Wyoming Bear Attack Glock had No Round in Chamber, Magazine & Pistol Separated
Full Can of Bear Spray Used in Fatal Bear Attack

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On April 15, 2021, Carl Mock was attacked by a grizzly bear, just outside of Yellowstone Park. Mock was an accomplished woodsman and guide. He did not have a firearm with him. He had bear spray.  He used the bear spray but was fatally injured.

This correspondent, with questions directed to Montana Fish and Wildlife Morgan Jacobsen, was able to determine bear spray had been used in the incident. Initially, the use of bear spray was reported as unknown by 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.

Eight months later, the investigation of the incident is over.

Ktvh.com reports the investigation confirms bear spray was used. Although the attack was fatal, the lead investigator, Hillary Cooley, is reported as characterizing the use of bear spray as helpful. From ktvh.com:

Cooley says the incident again shows the need for safety precautions, even close to town. While bear spray helped curtail this attack, carcasses can present a real hazard in grizzly country. 

Another report indicates the full can of bear spray was discharged in the incident. From gohunt.com:

Investigators say he had brought fishing gear and a camera to the closed campground and likely the surprised the grizzly bear around 3:30 p.m. He was able to discharge a full can of bear spray during the attack and call 911 to report where he was. 

The full investigative report makes clear the bear spray was deployed against the grizzly bear during the attack. From the full investigative report:

Due to the empty cannister of bear-spray and the bear-spray residue on the bear carcass(hair), Mr. Mock had obviously been aware of possible grizzly bear encounters in the area and had deployed his bear-spray at the bear. It is not known if he bear-sprayed towards the bear prior to the bear contacting him or at what points during the attack he used the spray. During field and lab investigations, it was confirmed that the bear had substantial bear-spray residue on its hair. Additionally, the overall effects of the bear-spray to the bear are not known but the bear had quit attacking Mr. Mock, indicating the bear was affected by the bear-spray.

It is common for grizzly bears to stop attacking humans after they stop moving.

A diagram of Mr. Mock’s personal items at the attack site can be viewed in Figure 2.The bear-spray can was empty and investigators assumed Mr. Mock had likely sprayed the entire can of bear-spray.
A diagram of Mr. Mock’s personal items at the attack site can be viewed in Figure 2. The bear spray can was empty and investigators assumed Mr. Mock had likely sprayed the entire can of bear spray.

Recommendations from the report on self-defense:

  • Carry and know how to use self-defense….bear-spray and or firearms
  • It is always recommended to carry bear-spray even if individuals carry firearms.

The report identifies the bear spray used:

 *The can of bear spray was the UDAP brand, 7.9ounce, Expiration 12/2023 S/N P1711-071135).

The investigative report includes an aerial photo diagram that shows how close the bear attack occurred to populated areas.
The investigative report includes an aerial photo diagram that shows how close the bear attack occurred to populated areas.

A digital camera with a telephoto lens was recovered at the attack scene, but no photographs of the Baker’s hole campground area were found on the memory card for the camera. The moose carcass found 47 yards from the attack site was not noticed by the Search and Rescue team or by the helicopter during the initial rescue and recovery of Carl Mock.

This attack is one of a growing number where bear spray was used by the victim, and the victim was killed. Others include the killing of Daniel Schilling in Alaska and the Mark Uptain tragedy in Montana. There are others where bear spray was used by other people, but the victim was still killed, such as the death of Erin Johnson in the Pogo mine incident in Alaska, the death of Stephanie Blais in Saskatchewan, Canada.

These incidents reveal bear spray to be far from the cure-all initially claimed in numerous early articles. Those articles were based on inappropriate comparisons of studies involving firearm effectiveness and bear spray effectiveness in wildly different conditions.


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

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Ricardo Pacetti

I don’t usually get into Bear Country but if I did it would be with a Slug 12gage shotgun semiauto.

Jason

I see the government folks conducting the investigation must be the same ones promoting the covid “vaccine”. They have a very LOW threshold to consider something effective. “…the lead investigator, Hillary Cooley, is reported as characterizing the use of bear spray as helpful.”
The success rate seems to be about the same.

Lava

Yeah, and the conclusion–spray is recommended even when you have a firearm. Never mind that it will take time away from using your firearm.

loveaduck

The best bear spray is rapidly moving lead.

Henry Bowman

This past year, I moved into bear country, spitting distance from Canada. I was always planning on getting a 10MM, but now it’s my first priority. Lesser cartridges simply won’t save you. Meanwhile, when I’m in the woods, I tote an AR-10.

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None

10mm is what i carry 8n Alaska along withy 45-70

Henry Bowman

Gotta love that 45-70!! I want one.

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CourageousLion

I used to prefer a .44 magnum or 10mm Automatic for bear country…THEN S&W came up with the 500 S&W magnum which is what I use now. I’ve also got a shoulder holster for a 50A&E Desert Eagle as my second choice. And a Barret 82 A1 and a 50 Beowulf, 450 Bushmaster, 500 Automax and a 500 S&W Spike Driver by Big Horn Armory. Typically I carry all of them at once “just in case” one doesn’t work. The only bear I’ve ever had to point one at was some Yogi bear with Boo Boo. (Story was sad enough… Read more »

Duane

Bear spray is a poor substitute for a good firearm in a deadly force situation.

Bears are always armed and a lot of the time have a size. weight and speed advantage.

Stag

This is why I carry a .460 when I’m in bear country.

Nurph

“Mock was an accomplished woodsman and guide. He did not have a firearm with him. He had bear spray.” “Experienced” they say. “This attack is one of a growing number where bear spray was used by the victim, and the victim was killed.” If you head into bear country with ONLY bear spray, and you’re attacked by a bear, you’ll only die spicy. Admittedly, the likelihood of an attack is probably fairly low. But it is not zero. Why not have a firearm with you? Lemme guess. Fishing gear & a camera equals someone that “respects all creatures” & would… Read more »

Beeroy

It has been reported before, ANY handgun is better than no handgun. They do not have “Knockdown power”. The quicker you cause enough cardiovascular disruption to stop blood flow to their brain, the sooner they take the long sleep. Better still if you can steady yourself enough to dome them and switch them off that way.

Henry Bowman

Bears cannot be “domed” except in one TINY place, which is just above the eye socket; their skulls are so thick that no handgun caliber save for possibly the 10MM can effectively switch off the bear instantly.
People ought to carry either a 10MM, a rifle, or better yet, both. And not a .223; use .308 or better – say, .458 SOCOM, .50 Beowulf, etc.

swmft

I have met one up close and DAM they are big a 44 is the smallest I take with me ,up close shot placement may not be possible but 8 rounds of 44 made it decide I was not food

CourageousLion

You must be using a .44 Desert Eagle if you can get off 8 rounds.

Finnky

Perhaps lever action rifle/carbine in 44mag? Harder to draw quickly, but easier to put rounds where they need to go, longer barrel adds considerably to projectile energy, and if you’ve got time they typically hold more rounds than a revolver.

Henry Bowman

I encountered a bear only once; accidentally, killed it with my front bumper. Sadly, it was not fully grown (maybe I should say thankfully)…

Montana454Casull

I live in grizzley country and I pack a Ruger Blackhawk .44 Remington magnum or a Ragingbull 454 Casull . I may get chewed up but not without serious consequences for the bear . I don’t carry seasoning for the bears enjoyment during its meal either !

uncle dudley

When you think about the size and strength of a grizzley bear do you really want to defend yourself with a can of spray.
I wouldn’t go in the woods without the proper gun, my only can of spray would be for bugs not bears.

JayWPB

“While bear spray helped curtail this attack,”
It sounds like Mr. Mock died, but would probably have been MORE dead if he hadn’t used the bear spray.

Taj

Jay, correct. They did not report the “DOD” factor. (Degree of deadness). Obviously the bear spray mitigated how dead the victim was.

Finnky

Actually they did discuss degree-of-deadness factor. After being attacked Mr. Mock was able to make a call for help. It is possible his injuries would have been survivable had he received immediate medical aid. Possibly if he’d had a gun, he would have suffered less severe injuries and/or other people could have heard gunshots and come to investigate – providing care sooner. One more reason shooters should train and equip for trauma care – and another reason for him to have had a gun. Details were not provided but given delayed death one might assume he bled to death. Pure… Read more »

RegT

Excellent comment, Finnky. An IFAK should be carried any time you are in the back country – or find yourself in an urban setting, given how carjackings and killings are being encouraged by so many city governments (refusal to arrest, charge, and/or convict). A CAT – at the very least – should be carried in the woods. One for everyone in your group. I used to carry a Ruger Redhawk with 300gr WNFP hard-cast lead bullets, but a friend talked me into changing that for a G20, which I load with 16 rounds of 200 grain WNFP hard-cast lead. I… Read more »

Russn8r

My bear spray works…on AntiFa. Works on bears too, if you coat bullets with it and deliver it with them.

musicman44mag

All bear spray does is make you a tastier treat. Like cheese whiz on top of a cracker. Lead on the other hand does not have a nice flavor even when served hot.

OreGONE.

Wild Bill

That is probably why the canister was empty! Let’s go Yogi!!

DonP

“ Recommendations from the report on self-defense:…
…It is always recommended to carry bear-spray even if individuals carry firearms.“

I have one better for them:
It is always recommended to carry a firearm even if individuals carry bear-spray.

OlTrailDog

It doesn’t always work that way, for the time being anyway. I worked over the decades in grizzly country (Bob Marshall, Great Bear, Scapegoat, Missions, Absaroka-Beartooth, and Teton Wildernesses) with the Forest Service. For a brief time in the Bob we were allowed to carry a weapon to humanely put down a horse or mule should the need arise. Other than that brief period we were not permitted to carry. Later in my career when I often worked alone, not counting the pack stock and border collies, I would surreptitiously carry a 44 Mag and/or 12ga. I spent part of… Read more »

DonP

Yes, sometimes the rules/laws have no logic behind them. That’s where the old adage comes into play… better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

RegT

If it doesn’t contravene your state laws, carrying a firearm has been legal in FS land for some years now.

OlTrailDog

Yes, carry is legal on most FS public lands. What I was specifically referring to is FS policy is that FS personnel are not allowed to carry in the GYE where the incident(s) happen by the FS overhead (read sits in office and not out where the ‘action’ occurs). It is possible for this to change, but from my personal experience it will most likely take someone(s) killed and/or injured to change this policy.

Arny

Carl Mock was attacked by a grizzly bear, just outside of Yellowstone Park. Mock was an accomplished woodsman and guide. He did not have a firearm with him. He had bear spray. Not to accomplished of a woodsman & guide if you ask me. Knowing Grizzlies are in the area & you have no firearm ? C’mon Man get a shotgun. lol

musicman44mag

Ya, and fire two shots in the air to warn the bear that you are armed.

swmft

not lol it is lets go brandon

Matt in Oklahoma

Just like in tactics non lethal is always covered by lethal. If it can only be one then it’s lethal

Cooter

I live on the east coast and have no experience in grizzly country but I would not be in the woods without a serious firearm just in case I need it…I would not be out there with only bear spray better safe than dead

Nilsigne

Is 458 socom a good brown Bear defense round? Does it have a lot of recoil?
I’m 5’3 and small and it’s hard to shoot the heavier rounds. I’d prefer to have an ar style Gun since I’m very familiar with them over other platforms

Hazcat

If you really want an AR style get an AR-10.

Terry

Absolutely! I have one in 338 Federal. That’s my bear spray.

OlTrailDog

Since you are going to carry a long gun specifically for bear defense, I’d suggest an unplugged semi-auto 12ga shotgun with rifled slugs and double OO. Practice and remeber if Joe “Let’s Go Brandon” Biden can operate a shotgun, you probably can too.

RegT

Federal makes some reduced power 12 ga. loads (less recoil) that are still very effective, in both slug and buck configurations. Several departments I worked for issued them.

RegT

Didn’t mean to imply a woman cannot shoot full-power 12 ga. loads, but if you are of small stature, the reduced power loads will be more comfortable. Even some of the guys I worked with preferred shooting them.

WI Patriot

He did not have a firearm with him.”…Mistake #1…

No matter how good the knife, never bring one to a gun fight…

Russn8r

Davy Crocket did…Or was that John Wayne?

swmft

and a 50ae or 454 casul pistol says bear skin rug , rather than bear snak

Russn8r

I got F’d with by a cow-sized black bear decades ago. All I had was a rock, and I could tell he was prepared to say “you don’t come here for the hunting, do you?” So he got the grub and I went hungry for a week. Now I bring a Glock 17 in black bear backcountry. I figure it’ll work in a pinch, predators preferring easy prey. Rather have a 50 or 454 but very heavy for backpacking. Trade off.

StLPro2A

That G17 9mm will make your body bag easier to pack out rather having a 50 or 454 in the bag. Very thoughtful of you…..

DonP

No matter what caliber, I would prefer to have a firearm than to not have a firearm if a bear decides to rear his (or her) ugly head. https://www.ammoland.com/2021/06/handgun-or-pistol-against-bear-attacks-104-cases-97-effective/#axzz7GxyGGWn3

RegT

Thanks for posting that, Don. Although I will say that a Glock 20 (10mm, aka .40 “Magnum”) will likely be more effective, and only a few ounces heavier. Good backpacking equipment – rural _or_ urban.