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More Information Released On Utah Man Killed By Bear In Wyoming

On Wednesday, authorities released more information on a September bear attack that resulted in a Utah man’s death.  The 31-year-old Virgin, Utah resident Adam Thomas Stewart was killed in a bear attack in the Bridger Teton National Forest in northwestern Wyoming on Sept. 4.

Stewart was conducting research for Nature’s Capital, a Boise company specializing in landscape assessments, and was reported missing by his employer after he failed to return. A five-day search resulted in the discovery of Stewart’s remains three miles from his campsite.

Authorities discovered tracks from both black and grizzly bears at the scene, and a preliminary pathology report from the Fremont County Coroner’s Office reported Stewart was killed by blunt force trauma during an encounter with a bear.

Media reports indicated that investigators used the time stamp on Stewart’s camera to determine he was killed at 5 p.m. The specific bear has not been identified, and investigators still haven’t said which species of bear was involved in the attack.

There was no evidence of firearms or bear spray near Stewart.

Dr. Mark Servheen, the Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator for the United States Fish And Wildlife Service, said bear spray is a highly effective deterrent in preventing bear attacks, and strongly recommended carrying it while traveling in bear country. Spray is effective, easy to use, and non-lethal to bears, but there are several other things that people in bear habitat can do to be safe.

“We tell people not to hike alone, make noise if you’re in cover or are in an area with limited range of vision, don’t run if you encounter a bear and carry bear spray,” he said.  

The next step in the process is to convene a board of review made up of grizzly experts from various agencies, Servheen says. This board meets after every human fatality involving grizzly bears, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The experts will use evidence to piece together what happened and will then make a recommendation for action to the appropriate state agency.

Servheen said it is not always possible to identify the individual bear responsible for an attack.