Skip to comments.Grizzly mauls sheepherder; kills dogs, sheep
Posted on 09/15/2009 2:27:56 PM PDT by jazusamo
After what could be the first grizzly bear attack on a human in the Upper Green, a 46-year-old sheepherder was life-flighted to Idaho Falls early Monday morning after being seriously mauled.
The grizzly began its rampage in the early hours in a sheep herd grazing near Forest Road 617, at the eastern edge of the Gros Ventre Wilderness near Tosi Creek.
The herd is tended by Marcello Tejeda, of Rock Springs, and Jorge Mesa, both of whom were awakened by what they thought was a black bear in the sheep, according to their employer, rancher Mary Thoman of Fontenelle.
Monday, Thoman was concerned for Tejeda and her sheep, which have been harassed by predators all summer, she said.
We have had a nightmare, she said of the W&M Thoman Ranches forest allotments on the Upper Green. Nothing but grizzlies and wolves all summer long.
At 3:30, the Sublette County Sheriffs Office received a call from Mesa that a bear had attacked a man and that an ambulance or doctor was needed to help him, according to preliminary reports.
Thoman said they have always had problems with black bears getting into the sheep but the grizzly situation has been worsening since 1998 when she said grizzlies were moved into that area from elsewhere.
The dogs were raising heck and they thought it was a black bear, Thoman said her sheepherder told her.
This was a grizzly sow with one cub, though, she was told. Thoman said she recently saw a collared grizzly sow with three cubs that had just showed up but didnt know if they were the same animal.
The guard dogs stay with the sheep and protect them as best they can, she explained.
Once they found out a bear was in the sheep the sheepherder (Tejeda) sent his (guard) dog in and the bear killed that one, Bardin related .
Tejeda then sent in another guard dog and apparently was attacked by the bear when he tried to save the second dog, which was killed, he said.
The sheepherder received a seven-inch gash on top of his head, two punctures to the left side of his chest, three claw wounds to the right side of his abdomen and a puncture wound to his right wrist, early reports stated.
This is the first human attack there that I can remember, Bardin said.
Mesa used pepper spray twice to drive the bear away from Tejeda and then called Thoman for help.
Thoman said giving her sheepherders guns to shoot marauding predators isnt a solution or we just have more trouble.
Mesa then notified the sheriffs office, and a team was sent in including an Emergency Medical Services unit, Kendall Valley Fire Departments first-responders, three deputies and a Forest Service officer while Air Idaho, a search-and-rescue team and a doctor were put on standby.
Because of the poor travel conditions, a deputy drove Tejeda and Mesa (who had pepper spray in his eyes) out to a waiting ambulance and they were transported to the Pinedale Clinic.
Mesas eyes were cleaned and Tejeda was airlifted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) in Idaho Falls.
Tejeda was listed in serious condition Monday afternoon, according to EIRMC spokesperson Nancy Browne.
Wyoming Game & Fish team investigated the scene of the attack Monday.
Weve heard this person has been injured and thats our primary concern, said G&F spokesman Mark Gocke. We hope hes all right.
Gocke had no further information Monday but said G&F is participating in the investigation and more details will be forthcoming.
Predators have heavily targeted sheep and cattle on Upper Green permitted grazing allotments this year, according to Thoman.
Most of the publicly confirmed predations are sheep killed by wolves but there are plenty of others in the mountains.
Thoman said she cant put a number to their losses yet, not until the herds are gathered and brought back home.
What they verify doesnt match up, though, she said of investigating agencies.
The trouble is by the time you notify them, if they dont get there within three or four days they cant confirm, she said, adding other animals will feed on the carcasses.
We just have to put up with them, she said. They need to put them away. Theyre just getting too thick.
Thoman said most people dont realize how heavy livestock losses are in the Upper Green and public land managers seem to not care I think theyre just trying to get rid of us (livestock ranchers).
Thoman doesnt plan on giving in to bears, wolves or public agencies lightly, she said. Thoman sheep have grazed on the same allotments since 1978 and her family began ranching before 1900.
It isnt like we just sprang up, she said.
On Aug. 6, Wildlife Services confirmed a grizzly had killed two head of cattle in the Upper Green.
In a slew of late July and August attacks in western Wyoming, wolves killed dozens of sheep, a handful of cattle and a half-dozen guard dogs, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reports.
Recent reports reveal lethal control efforts have removed 10 wolves to date from the Green River Pack and five from the Dog Creek Pack.
Thoman worries that wolves and bears have run the sheep around so much that right now without anyone up there to keep an eye on them, her herds could be scattered throughout the forest.
I suppose well be hunting sheep up there until Christmas, she said.
No one from the Forest Service, which manages the grazing allotments, responded before press time.
“Thoman said giving her sheepherders guns to shoot marauding predators isnt a solution or we just have more trouble.”
An S&W .44 Magnum Mountain Gun could have stopped this from happening.
There’s the only guy around who was happy he was maced. Prayers up.
Yep, I’ll bet the sheepherder in the hospital would have rather had that than pepper spray.
Well, Mary... seems you’ve tried it without guns and have had increasingly “more trouble”.
Sounds like you need to rethink your plan now that you’ve continually had livestock and dogs slaughtered and employees hurt.
Amen! The guy is very lucky he survived.
Grizzly Bears are not known to respond to harsh language.
They should sue their employer for gross negligence.
Very well said. LOL!
The problem comes from the Feds. Killing wolves and grizzly bears even when protecting livestock can bring you harsh penalties. Both are federally protected.
The eco’s who have taken over many DOWs arrest and fine ranchers who shoot bears that kill and eat their livestock.
Part of their plan.
The woman has to be insane to send an unarmed man and some dogs out to face off with bears or wolves.
Who allows this woman to graze up there. She seems not to have any sense whatsoever.
I don’t go out of my house onto the farm unarmed and we don’t even have bears, just coyotes and snakes.
Yes it would as would a .454 Casull, .460 S&W, 500 AE or .458 Winchester Magnum.
You’re right, 30 years ago and before the state game depts were not infiltrated with econuts nor were the feds.
I would prefer a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70 with Garrett’s 540 grain Hammerhead loads. Better penetration than a .458 Winchester with quick follow-up shots. Pretty stout grizzly medicine I think.
You need more penetration that that. A .416 Rigby ought to do the trick.
If I was going on a deliberate grizz hunt, a .416 or .458 would probably be the right medicine. If I was a shepherd and packing strictly for the defensive "close encounter" I think I'd give the nod to a short lever action with a big hole in the muzzle.
I love the .416 Rigby but the .458 Lott is the ultimate killing round for big game. Best gun would be a CZ 550 Safari Magnum in either caliber. On my list of things to buy next year.
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