Charging Grizzly Killed by Off-Duty Game Warden Near Cody
UPDATE (11:45 a.m.):
The Park County Sheriff's Office has released further details of the incident in which an off-duty game warden shot and killed a charging grizzly bear, and the subsequent investigation by the Park County Sheriff's Office and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
According to a release from Lance Mathess, public affairs officer for the Park County Sheriff's Office, says the incident occurred northwest of Cody at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Christopher J. Queen, 48, of Powell, was hunting elk in the Little Sunlight Basin. He was returning to his horses at dusk, when he encountered a grizzly sow with three cubs.
Queen told investigators that when the sow saw him, she initiated a "bluff charge," wherein the sow moved aggressively toward Queen, but stopped abruptly, without attacking. Queen took no action at that time, believing the sow would return to her cubs and move off.
Queen slowly backed away, trying to put distance between himself and the bears.
However, Queen told investigators, the sow returned to her cubs and then began to exhibit even more aggressive behavior.
Suddenly, the sow lowered her head and went into a full charge, headed directly for Queen. Queen then used his hunting rifle to shoot and kill the bear, which fell only a few feet from where Queen was standing.
"It is not unusual for an agency with concurrent jurisdiction, to be asked to assume investigative responsibility for an incident when a member of a law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction is involved," Park County Sheriff Scott Steward said in the news release.
"This maintains the integrity of the investigation and eliminates even the perception of impropriety," Steward explained.
The investigation continues, assisted by bear experts from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The department is currently assessing the condition of the cubs, and will continue to monitor their status.
An investigation is underway after an off-duty game warden shot and killed an adult female grizzly bear she charged him northwest of Cody. According to Game and Fish, the incident happened the evening of October 25th and the warden, Chris Queen, reported the event immediately.
Officials say Warden Queen used his cell phone to report the incident to his immediate supervisor. A joint team of investigators from the Park County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Division of Investigation are looking into the incident. Game and Fish bear experts and others helped the investigators return to the area where it happened and collect information. Game and Fish says such an investigation is routine protocol after this kind of incident.
The bear had three cubs with her, and Game and Fish staff worked with the team to assess the condition of the bear cubs, and they'll continue to monitor the cub's status.