A woman who was captured on video being bluff charged by a grizzly bear while she was taking photos in Yellowstone National Park has been charged with two offenses.
Samantha Dehring of Carol Stream, Illinois, has been charged in U.S. District Court in Yellowstone Park with feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife and violating closures and use limits. She is set to appear in court Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. in Mammoth.
On May 15, Dehring was visiting the Roaring Mountain area of the park when she and a small group of other tourists spotted the sow bear and her two cubs. The sow was about 15 feet from the woman, investigators state in court records.
Witnesses told investigators that when they saw the bears coming closer, they returned to their vehicles and warned Dehring to also get back, “but, she did not,” charges state. Park regulations require visitors stay at least 300 feet away from bears and wolves.
Video of the encounter was widely shared on social media. On May 25, the park posted a photo of the woman on its Facebook page along with a plea for tips that could help identify her. On the same day, Dehring unfollowed the park’s Facebook page, according to charging documents.
A tip from someone who had seen a posting of the video with the suspect’s name tagged led to her identification, court records state. Investigators got a warrant to search Dehring’s Facebook page where she had posted photos of the bears with the caption “absolutely floored by the beauty of this place.”
The citations come in the wake of another park video investigation. Comedian Jake Adams filmed himself hitting golf balls in Yellowstone and other parks. The National Park Service investigated the incident and Adams has since removed the videos from his Instagram account and issued an apology on the platform.
A few days after Dehring’s bear encounter, a 39-year-old hiker in the park was significantly injured in a bear attack.
In July of this year, a woman camping in Ovando in western Montana was pulled from her tent and killed by a grizzly bear. The bear was later shot by wildlife officials.
In July of 2020, rangers in Yellowstone killed a black bear after it wandered into a campsite and bit a woman on the arm and head.
A woman resting in her tent in a sleeping bag in the park in June of 2019 was bitten on the thigh by a black bear.