On Sept. 14, Mark Uptain, 37, a Jackson Hole, Wyoming hunting guide for Martin Outfitters, headed out with a client into the backcountry of Terrace Mountain in the Teton Wilderness and bagged an elk. But the adventure turned into tragedy when a 10-year-old sow grizzly charged at Uptain. His body was found the next day by search-and-rescue crews.
Five days later, the Wyoming Department of Workforce were on the scene investigating whether possible workplace safety violations may have contributed to Uptain’s death.
“We do have an active investigation regarding this incident with Martin Outfitters, and the unfortunate attack that cost this gentleman his life,” Jason Wolfe, with the Wyoming office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), told the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “It’s always difficult to see these incidents, and we unfortunately deal with them time and time again.”
Wolfe said OSHA’s job in investigating the incident is to make sure employees are protected and have the right training and equipment to do their jobs safely. OSHA’s probe will delve into what happened in the field, the guide’s training, and what level of training is customary for the company’s guides.
Uptain reportedly had a Glock handgun and bear spray with him, but the Glock was not in his possession nor was it fired at the time of the bear’s attack. The guide did have bear spray on his hip holster and apparently used it during the conflict.
OSHA has cited companies it has found at fault after deadly grizzly bear attacks. In 2015, Nature’s Capital was fined $39,000 after a 31-year-old employee was mauled by a bear in the Teton Wilderness in Boise, Idaho, while conducting vegetation surveys for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The deceased did not have a firearm nor bear spray at the time of his attack. OSHA later reduced the fine to $13,120, citing the company’s small size and lack of prior safety violations.
Source: Jackson Hole News & Guide