Yellowstone visitor decides to get a good close look at grizzly bear – Park Rangers aren't impressed

Grizzly bear
(Image credit: Getty)

A man was intercepted by a Ranger at Yellowstone National Park, and escorted away after he decided to try and get a closer look at an adult male grizzly bear.

A photo shared this week on Instagram account TouronsOfYellowstone shows a Ranger approaching the man from behind after he decided to leave a large group of visitors that had gathered to watch the animal, and stroll downhill to get a better view.

According to a witness report, members of the crowd tried calling to the man, and reported him to the nearest Ranger Station when he didn't come back. When the Ranger arrived, he checked the tourist's photos and after examining his footprints, estimated that he got within 20 yards of the animal. For reference, The National Park Service (NPS) warns visitors to stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves at all times.

As bears begin to wake from hibernation, it's a timely reminder that approaching, distracting, or harassing wildlife at US National Parks is illegal, and punishable by a fine or even jail time. In 2021, a woman was fined and jailed for four days after getting too close to a grizzly and her cubs at Yellowstone. The visitor, identified as 25-year-old Samantha Dehring, was also banned from the National Park for a year.

“Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish," said Bob Murray, acting US attorney for Wyoming, after Dehring was sentenced. Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”

Be bear aware

Grizzly bear attacks are rare, but they do happen. Last year, a woman was found dead on a trail just outside Yellowstone following an apparent bear attack. Officials from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks found tracks from an adult and cubs in the area, but the animals themselves were not found.

Later that year, two hikers were killed by a grizzly at Banff National Park in Canada. The couple, named as Doug Inglis and Jenny Gusse, were experienced hikers and well-versed in wildlife safety, but on September 31 operators at the Garmin Response Center received a short SOS message from the couple's satellite communicator: "bear attack bad".

All of Yellowstone is bear habitat – from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful

National Park Service

A specialized team were dispatched, but bad weather hampered their efforts, and by the time the couple were found, they and their dog Tris had passed away from their injuries. The bear, an elderly female in poor condition, was found later that day, 

"All of Yellowstone is bear habitat – from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful," says the NPS. "Prepare for bear encounters no matter where you go."

For more advice, take a look at our guides what to do if you meet a bear, and wildlife safety: eight tips for surprise encounters.

Cat Ellis

Cat is Homes Editor at TechRadar and former editor of Advnture. She's been a journalist for 15 years, and cut her teeth on magazines before moving online. She helps readers choose the right tech for their home, get the best deals, and do more with their new devices.