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Tent camping in Caribou-Targhee National Forest closed after black bear attack

In a U.S. Forest Service video, the bear pushes a man out his hammock before destroying it and a sleeping bag. The bear also tried to enter an occupied tent.
Credit: U.S. Forest Service - Caribou-Targhee National Forest / Facebook

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The U.S. Forest Service announced tent camping in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest is temporarily closed after a black bear pushed a man out of his hammock. 

Officials said the bear in the area is "aggressive." After pushing the man, the black bear destroyed the hammock and the sleeping bag inside. 

The camper was able to retreat to his vehicle, but the bear tried to enter a tent before it was scared away. No one was injured during the incident Friday, June 10. 

The U.S. Forest Service said only hard-sided vehicles are permitted to camp up Teton Canyon. 

A video of the black bear interaction is included below: 

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is issuing a #temporary #closure to all camping except for hard-sided vehicles up Teton Canyon due to an aggressive black bear in the area. On Friday night an individual was pushed out of his hammock by a black #bear. The individual was able to retreat to the safety of his car while the bear destroyed the hammock and sleeping bag. The bear then tried to enter an occupied tent before it was finally scared away. Fortunately, no one was injured during this interaction. Wyoming Game and Fish responded the next day and placed a trap in the area. After the bear did not returned to the site for three consecutive nights, Game and Fish pulled its trap from Teton Canyon on June 14. Biologists from the agency continue to monitor the area daily. “Even though the bear still shows some healthy fear towards humans, its aggressiveness towards camps, tents, stationary items and food rewards is increasing, which is why we no longer feel it’s safe to camp in anything other than a hard-sided vehicle” said Joe McFarlane, Recreation Manager for the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. “The canyon is still open to recreational use, but we ask people to take extreme precaution in the area.” The Forest intends to keep the temporary closure in place up the Canyon until the bear is captured or the threat is diminished to an acceptable level of risk. Teton Basin is in bear country. Be bear aware and make sure you have bear spray easily accessible. For more information on how to be bear aware visit https://wgfd.wyo.gov/bear-wise-wyoming. Contact the Teton Basin Ranger District at 208-354-2312 for information on the temporary closure.

Posted by U.S. Forest Service - Caribou-Targhee National Forest on Tuesday, June 14, 2022

On June 11, Wyoming Game and Fish placed a trap in the area, but the bear did not return to the campsite the following three nights. The trap was removed from Teton Canyon June 14. 

Wyoming Game and Fish biologists are monitoring the area daily. 

“Even though the bear still shows some healthy fear towards humans, its aggressiveness towards camps, tents, stationary items and food rewards is increasing, which is why we no longer feel it’s safe to camp in anything other than a hard-sided vehicle” Recreation Manager for the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Joe McFarlane said. “The canyon is still open to recreational use, but we ask people to take extreme precaution in the area.” 

The U.S. Forest Service said it plans to keep the closure up Teton Canyon in place until the bear is captured or "the threat is diminished to an acceptable level of risk."

Teton Basin is considered bear country and officials ask recreationalists to bring bear spray and to be aware of the animals in the area. For more information on how to be "bear aware," click here

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