A confrontation last night between Boy Scout Camp leaders and a bear in the Uinta Mountains ended with a dead bear and possible charges being filed against a camp leader. It happened at the Hinckley Scout Ranch along the East Fork of the Bear River near the Utah-Wyoming border. Jodie Anderson with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says they tried to trap a bear reported in the area earlier in the week. They got a call from the camp that a bear had been shot after camp leaders tried to chase a bear from the top of a table while it was eating something.
“They went to approach the bear and the bear jumped off the picnic table and ran towards the group scouts and then one of the scout leaders felt that the scouts were in danger so he shot the bear,” says Anderson.
She says there are a total of about 2000 bears in the state of Utah, so these types of confrontations rare. But she also warns that keeping campsites clean of snacks and leftovers is extremely important. Anderson would not speculate on any possible charges against the leader as the investigation is ongoing.
Rick Barnes is the Scout Executive with the Great Salt Lake Council of the BSA which owns Hinckley Scout Ranch. He says the council will stand behind the camp leader’s actions.
“We did what we felt was in the best safety for our young people," says Barnes. "That comes first in our book,” he adds.
Barnes says there was a lapse in leadership with the one troop involved and food was not put away properly. He says the Boy Scouts of America is an organization that strives to respect nature and this incident is being taken very seriously.