Man Killed While Photographing Grizzly Bear

Man Killed While Photographing Grizzly Bear

A San Diego hiker was mauled to death on Friday while taking photos of a grizzly bear. It happened in Alaska's Denali National Park, and is the park's first known fatal bear attack. Richard White was backpacking by himself, and stood about 50-100 yards from the 6oo-pound bear while photographing it. "The photographs in the recovered camera show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively. Spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said the bear did not even appear aware of the hiker until the final photos, which show the animal looking toward the camera."

Via: Fox News

Photo: Buck's Wildlife Photography

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Radu Dumitrescu's picture

Unfortunately, you can't walk away from every mistake. Life may give you chances, or it may not. It's certainly a very sad article, but should also serve as a warning to photography enthusiasts, especially landscape and wildlife passionates. 

The one thing everybody should remember while out photographing is where they are, because the great outdoors is not your safe home and you must play by it's rules.

May he rest in peace.

If only he had pepper gas spray...
In Alaska it's a must.

Chris V's picture

Agreed. That's terrible.  When shooting wildlife, pack a long lens and an even longer gun.

Ashkan Ahmadi's picture

right, we go in their territory, photograph them, and shoot them dead, and call us intelligent beings. i dont blame the bear

Well, technically it is our territory too since we share the same Earth. Most photographers actually do the animals good by showing their beauty hence need to be conserved. Being careful while doing this is not a stupid/selfish thing to do.

If you read carefully, nobody did.

It's a sad mistake, often seen in those parts (and in Canada...)

Was the photo above taken by the photographer?

He should have used a longer lens.

As an Alaskan ex-pat I have to mention that this kind of attack is extremely rare although it always gets headlines.  You're much, much more likely to be attacked by a moose, which are more plentiful and very territorial, than a bear.  

A 600lb grizzly?  Must have been a young one since grown adults can be MUCH bigger up there. 

Pepper gas spray would be sufficient to stop even the biggest bear. The gun is nothing sure for such big animal.

Curtis David's picture

Pepper spray is also not a sure thing and he has to be CLOSE for it to work and be effective. Most alaskans carry guns, not pepper spray. He should have been carrying a rifle for protection when entering the food chain. Let's not forgot the kids in Alaska that were mauled, while 4 of them had bear spray.

That's just because it's legal to own a firearm... doesn't mean its more effective.

Pepper spray can shoot at 15 feet easy, and unless you get it in the head, the bear will keep charging with a few bullets in him....

Curtis David's picture

You can shoot a bear at 100 yards, 50 yards, 20 yards. You have to wait until 25 FEET until you can use the bear spray. At 30 MPH i doubt the bear on a full charge will stop. I'd rather shoot him at 50 yards and charging. Btw, not much moves with a 12ga slug in it, with a few slugs in it it's dead on the ground.  Proper weapon selection is key. I suggest you go to youtube and watch the guy who shot a charging grizzly at 8 yards.   It turned from the hit and dropped dead a few yards away as it retreated. Then I suggest you go bear hunting and watch how fast a bear drops from a 12 ga slug. 

While tragic, let us not forget that the photographer in question violated the number one rule in Denali, stay at least one quarter mile away from the bears. To make that number easier to relate to the article, that is 440 yards. Depending on which news source you read that is in the range of four to eight times the distance he was photographing the bear from.

Exactly right, Jack.  Also there are some other common sense rules that anyone in the back country to be aware of like staying downwind from the animal.  Grizzly bears aren't known to have great eyesight, but they do have a keen sense of smell. If you're upwind from the bear it can smell you and everything you're carrying.  Being downwind from a bear, far enough away and staying still is the better part of discretion. 

If you need to kill stuff to be safe then perhaps you shouldn't be there. It's unfair for the animals who are just acting on their natural instincts and it's selfish.

RUSS's picture

But if one does go. Go prepared to defend yourself.
the WILDerness is full of WILD creatures(wild means not tamed or domesticated, of unrestrained violence, fury, intensity),. Their mentality is not love and kindness. their mentality is "This is MINE and I'll fight you for it"
Now if you don't want to defend yourself because you thinks it's unfair to the wildlife, it's OK to end up dead. Hopefully you're alone and won't get someone else killed too.
But I strongly urge anyone that does go out into the WILD ,to go with a plan, go prepared, and go to survive.
Just a thought;