HomeOutdoorsGrizzly Bear May Have Been Guarding Food in Deadly Yellowstone National Park Attack

Grizzly Bear May Have Been Guarding Food in Deadly Yellowstone National Park Attack

(Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Beloved guide to countless visitors in Yellowstone,” Charles W. Mock IV, is now believed to have been the victim of a grizzly bear protecting a previous kill.

The tragic death of Yellowstone National Park backcountry guide Charles Mock came two days after his grizzly bear mauling just outside the national park on April 15. 40-year-old Mock would succumb to severe scalp wounds from the attack.

Yellowstone officials cite the “vicious attack” took place near Bakers Hole Campground. While grizzly bears will sometimes attack without cause, there is typically an underlying reason. New research points to this being the case for Mock’s tragic death.

Montana state investigators have now discovered the hair, cartilage, and muscle tissue of a moose in the contents of the grizzly bear’s stomach. The tissue of another grizzly bear was also within, authorities state.

As a result, officials now believe the grizzly bear – which was put down for further aggressive behavior in the days after Mock’s death – likely exhibited extremely aggressive behavior over protecting a moose carcass. Further altercations with competing grizzlies may have agitated the bear further, leaving it in an explosive state. Horribly, it seems Mock was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Montana investigators believe the killing bear “had possibly been in a very recent fight with another grizzly bear defending the moose carcass or fought taking the moose carcass from another grizzly bear” due to the intestinal location of its remains, the Montana report states. “If this were the case, those interactions could have contributed to (the bear’s) overall aggressive defense of the moose carcass,” the document continues.

Grizzly Bear Victim Leaves Unanswered Questions

According to Yellowstone National Park officials, Mock was on the phone with emergency dispatchers for 49 minutes. While awaiting rescue, Mock told dispatchers he was taking photos outside the park.

After the initial attack, his camera wound up back in his vehicle. Friends would then remove his vehicle from the nearby campground. As a result, investigators would never examine the camera afterward.

By the time officials got hold of his phone’s memory card on April 17, however, no photos from Baker’s Hole – or from the day of the attack at all – were present within.

“Whether any pictures were removed before my observation is unknown, as control was lost over the camera,” Robert Pohle, Montana game warden, writes in the latest report.

Tragically, Mock’s death would come following two days of extensive surgery. In this timeframe, he was unable to speak to investigators and offer any clarification.

Other prior evidence of the bear’s heightening aggression came on August 16, when wildlife officials returned to the area of the attack. With little prompting, the grizzly bear would burst forth from the bush and attempt to take down all present.

“All members stopped and readied in case it was the bear and it charged,” the report recalls. “Within seconds the bear silently charged out of the brush, head down, ears back and running full out.”

The several officials present would then open fire on the grizzly, slowing it to a collapse. A final officer would then fire the final shots to put the bear out of its misery, as well as to protect the public.