Two hunters were involved in a bear attack Friday, September 14, in the Teton Wilderness while field dressing an elk near Terrace Mountain, approximately 5.8 miles northeast of the Turpin Meadow Trailhead.
Florida resident, Corey Chubon, shot an elk during a guided bow hunt late Thursday afternoon. He and his guide, Mark Uptain of Martin Outfitters, were unable to locate the wounded animal before nightfall. The pair returned Friday morning to locate and remove the elk. They found the undisturbed carcass in the early afternoon and were preparing to pack out the elk when they were aggressively charged by two large bears. Chubon was able to run to his pack gear a few yards away and retrieve a pistol but was unable to safely fire a shot at the bear that had struck Uptain. The attacking bear then spun, charged Chubon, grabbed his foot, and dragged him to the ground. He sustained injuries to his leg, chest, and arm, but was able to throw the gun to Uptain and get loose before running from the scene to phone for help. Initial reports indicate that the second bear did not engage either Chubon or Uptain.
An interagency helicopter was dispatched to the scene to assist with transport of the injured hunters. Chubon was taken to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, WY, for treatment to his wounds. Search and Rescue personnel were unable to locate Uptain before the search was suspended for the evening. An interagency team from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Grand Teton National Park, and Bridger-Teton National Forest resumed the search at 6:30am Saturday morning. Game wardens will look for evidence that may indicate if the bears were grizzlies.
An incident command post and helicopter landing zone has been established near Turpin Meadow Ranch. Undersheriff Matt Carr stated, “Search and Rescue is currently in the field, and we’re making every effort to locate and bring Mr. Uptain out from the backcountry.”
Ground and air resources are being utilized for this search and updates will be provided as available. Other hunters in the area should be aware of the search and rescue operations and the recent bear activity.