Details on the death of the iconic and legendary "Scarface" (#211) of Yellowstone have been released. The information below is a statement released by Jim Halfpenny, Ph. D and Connie Jeffcoat. It answers many questions surrounding the untimely death of bear #211.
"We are in possession of case files about the death of Scarface, bear number 211, released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosure and mailed to us on June 8, 2017. The documents include some key information that should be shared with the Greater Yellowstone Community, especially bear lovers.
Scarface was killed by a hunter returning in the dark with a headlamp lighting his way. The investigation confirmed that Scarface was apparently shot at about 10 feet from the trail on which the hunter was walking when the encounter occurred.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with other agency agents, could not disprove the claim of a self defense shooting. On July 5, 2016 the US FWS declined prosecution.
Information in the documents counters several rumors that have been prominent. The hunter was not employed in Gardiner and was not a resident of Gardiner or Montana. The hunter was not a Native American. The hunter was neither an employee of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks nor any other agency. The hunter was not a young lad from Pennsylvania.
While those of us who knew Scarface may doubt the gravity of the situation in the dark, the evidence does not allow us to question the immediacy of the situation and evaluate the demand for prompt action.
In recognition of evidence supporting a self defense situation and what may have happened with a dark colored bear in the dark of the night only illuminated by a headlamp, we will not release the name of the hunter.
It is significant that the hunter apparently was not carrying bear spray. Perhaps a $45 expenditure might have save the life of this iconic bear.
Dear friend, for a quarter century you have delighted and enlightened us – thank you. Now travel softly through the berry patches of your next life."
Jim Halfpenny, Connie Jeffcoat June 13, 2017"
This is a string of traffic over 300+ cars strong. The result of having two grizzly families, one on each side of the road. For many, getting home from work was a nightmare; 399 on one side of the road, while 793 was on the other!
This is a crowd of 75-100 people near Pilgrim Creek. For some here, it's their first time seeing a grizzly bear; some children present will take this memory and remember it for the rest of their lives, as will their parents. In this crowd, there are photographers, who make their livelihood off of the ability to photograph the wildlife. In this crowd, rangers patrol to ensure the safety of those patrons...ultimately, in this crowd, there is the existence of voters...voters who hopefully will exercise their right to help protect and maintain our public lands, so these amazing areas may exist for generations to come.
During my last outing in the field in East Yellowstone this past week, I used a thermal camera to observe and document some bears during the dusk and night time hours. My thermal imaging device is good for 600 yards, and surprisingly, I was able to view bears near the roadway. Please note that the temperature scale is not reflective of inner body heat; the temp is reflective of surface temperature and is deceivingly lower for mammals that are fur bearing.
Tyler Brasington is a native born and raised Pennsylvanian, yet proud current Wisconsin resident. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Currently, Tyler is pursuing his masters in Natural Resources with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has worked in Yellowstone National Park under the guidance and supervision of Dr. George Clokey and Dr. Jim Halfpenny.
Disclaimer: The information and views expressed on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Interior, US Geological Survey, National Park Service or the United States Government.
The Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Project
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