Wyoming hunter accidentally shoots himself while fighting off grizzly bear

Grizzly bear in Wyoming
(Image credit: Getty)

A man from Wyoming is recovering after shooting himself while fending off a grizzly bear attack. The incident took place on October 21 at the head of Rock Creek – a popular fishing spot south of Grand Teton National Park.

As OutThere Colorado reports, 65-year-old Lee Francis was hunting with his son when the attack happened. He fired his handgun several times and succeeded in scaring the animal away, but one of the shots hit him in the lower leg.

Francis's son activated an emergency SOS device to summon help, and attempted to control the bleeding. As night drew in, he worked out a plan with volunteers from Tip Top Search and Rescue (TTSAR) to get his father to safety.

"As darkness was rapidly approaching, a plan was devised through contact on the SOS device to rendezvous with TTSAR members near Water Dog Lake," said the local sheriff's office in a statement.

"Lee’s son was able to assist him on to a horse and make their way back towards the lake while TTSAR members utilizing UTVs left from the Flying A Ranch."

Francis was taken to hospital by helicopter for treatment. Meanwhile, wardens from Wyoming Game and Fish are conducting an investigation and attempting to find the bear.

What to do if a grizzly attacks

If you are charged or attacked by a grizzly bear while hiking, the best course of action is to lie on the ground and play dead. Keep your backpack on for protection, and use your hands and arms to guard the back of your neck. Spreading your legs will make it harder for the bear to turn you over.

If the bear doesn't leave and the attack persists, it's time to fight back as hard as possible. For more advice, see our guide what to do if you meet a bear: a guide to wildlife safety.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.