Carl Mock was enjoying a day of spring fishing on the Madison River north of West Yellowstone, Montana, on Thursday, April 15 when he was mauled by a big, boar grizzly bear.
The 40-year-old resident of West Yellowstone managed to call 911 despite suffering significant scalp and facial wounds. Emergency crews headed to the Baker’s Hole Campground area and found Mock within an hour.
The first responders transported Mock by toboggan and snowmobile to an ambulance then to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. Mock passed away Saturday morning in Idaho Falls following a massive stroke.
According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Mock was carrying bear spray when he was attacked. Although the safety tab was found off, it’s unclear whether he was able to deploy the canister.
A group of seven investigators including FWP game wardens, Forest Service rangers, and bear specialists returned to the scene on Friday to assess public safety risks. The group made lots of noise walking in to the site in attempt to alert bears in the area, but they were immediately charged by a large boar.
The group attempted to haze the bear away but were unsuccessful. Members of the team were ultimately forced to shoot the bear dead at only 20 yards.
Investigators later found a moose carcass cached within 50 yards of the original attack site, indicating that the bear was defending the food during both incidents. The USFS issued an emergency public safety closure of the area on Thursday that still remains in effect.
This is the second mauling of 2021 in the U.S. but the first to occur in the Lower 48. The first attack happened near Haines, Alaska, in February when a group of backcountry skiers stumbled upon a brown bear den, awakening the bear from its state of torpor.
Friends set up a GoFundMe campaign to aid Mock’s family with medical bills and funeral costs.
“Carl had such passion for outdoors, hiking, fishing, photography, and was a beloved guide to countless visitors in Yellowstone,” wrote Keith Johnson, who organized the fundraiser. He described Mock as a “hard-working guy with an infectious smile.”
Feature image via Tony Bynum.