Grizzlies captured after fatal attack near Yellowstone


A mother grizzly and two of her three cubs have been captured after a bear killed a Michigan man and injured two other people during an overnight rampage in a campground near Yellowstone National Park.

The sow, estimated to weigh 300 to 400 pounds, was lured Wednesday evening into a trap fashioned from culvert pipe covered by the dead victim’s tent. The bear tore down the tent and was caught in the trap, said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim.

By Thursday morning, two of the year-old bears had been caught and the third could be heard nearby, calling out to its mother.

Montana wildlife officials on Thursday identified the man killed in the mauling as Kevin Kammer, 48, of Grand Rapids, Mich. The bear pulled Kammer out his tent and dragged him 25 feet to where his body was found, Aasheim said.

The other victims, Deb Freele of Ontario, Canada, and an unidentified man, have been hospitalized in Cody, Wyo.

Parks warden Capt. Sam Sheppard described the rampage — in which campers in three different tents were mauled as they slept — as highly unusual.

“She basically targeted the three people and went after them,” Sheppard said. “It wasn’t like an archery hunter who gets between a sow and her cubs and she responds to protect them.”

Freele said Thursday that she was bitten on her arm and leg before she instinctively played dead so the animal would leave her alone.

Appearing on network morning shows from a Wyoming hospital, Freele said she woke up just before the bear bit her arm.

“I screamed, he bit harder. I screamed harder, he continued to bite,” she said, adding that she could hear her bones breaking. “I told myself, play dead,” she said. “I went totally limp. As soon as I went limp, I could feel his jaws get loose and then he let me go.”

Freele said the bear was silent.

“This, to me, was just an absolutely freaky thing,” she said. “I have to believe that the bear was not normal. It was very quiet; it never made any noise. I felt like it was hunting me.”

The male survivor suffered puncture wounds on his calf.

The bear attack was the most brazen in the Yellowstone area since the 1980s, wildlife officials said.