Woman jailed for close encounter with grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park

A judge has sentenced an Illinois woman to four days in prison for not staying away from her while a grizzly bear and two cubs approached her dangerously in Yellowstone National Park. Samantha R. Deering, 25, of Carol Stream, Illinois, pleaded guilty to intentionally approaching wildlife photography within 100 metres.

That’s the legal limit for people approaching wolves and bears inside Yellowstone Park, but prosecutors say Dearing continued to take photos as the bear approached her. Fortunately for her, the bear ran towards her, but eventually turned around without attacking her. In addition to sentencing her to prison, the judge banned her from Yellowstone for a year and ordered her to pay a fine of $1,000 and an additional $1,000 to set aside for the Wildlife Conservation Fund.

Wyoming Attorney General Bob Murray said in the statement that approaching a female grizzly with her cubs is absolutely ridiculous. Sheer luck is why Dearing is a criminal suspect rather than a troubled tourist.

The Grizzlies have killed eight people in the Yellowstone area since 2010, including Charles Mock, a Montana man who was dredged while hunting near the park in April.

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