Army Reserve Veteran Survives Grizzly Bear Attack in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming recently witnessed a terrifying encounter between a grizzly bear and Shayne Patrick Burke, a disabled Army Reserve Veteran. On a hike in the woods of Signal Mountain, Burke’s peaceful excursion took a dangerous turn when he stumbled upon a grizzly sow and her cub, leading to a harrowing attack.

As Burke navigated through dense vegetation, he unexpectedly came face-to-face with the grizzly sow and her cub. Despite his efforts to make noise and alert the bears, the situation escalated rapidly as the sow charged towards him. In a moment of panic, Burke attempted to use bear spray to defend himself, but was unable to deploy it before the bear reached him.

During the attack, Burke made a split-second decision to protect himself by laying down in a prone position and bracing for impact. The bear viciously bit him, causing severe injuries. However, a stroke of luck occurred when the bear inadvertently bit into the bear spray, causing it to explode and startle the bear away.

Following the harrowing encounter, Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue responded promptly to provide emergency medical assistance. Burke was airlifted to a nearby hospital for treatment of his injuries. Thankfully, despite the severity of the attack, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Officials have indicated that no punitive actions will be taken against the bear involved in the incident, attributing it to a surprise encounter. The National Park Service advises visitors to exercise caution in bear country, emphasizing the importance of carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it effectively.

Reflecting on the traumatic experience, Burke expressed gratitude for surviving the violent encounter and highlighted the importance of being prepared while exploring the wilderness. As he continues his journey to recovery, his story serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of wildlife encounters in national parks.