Woman Charged by Grizzly in Yellowstone Gets Jail

Samantha Dehring could have been mauled, prosecutor says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2021 1:41 AM CDT
Updated Oct 10, 2021 12:31 PM CDT

Update: An Illinois tourist spotted taking photos of a grizzly bear and her cubs pleaded guilty to willfully being within 100 yards of wildlife and will spend four days in jail. She's also barred from Yellowstone National Park for a year. Samantha Dehring told the court she regrets putting herself and other tourists in danger, KRTV reports, and has suffered emotionally from social media attacks over her standoff with the grizzly. Dehring will be on probation for a year and was fined about $2,000, half of which will go to the Yellowstone Forever wildlife protection fund. The judge said the punishment is intended to "put an exclamation point on how serious this is." A federal prosecutor said her actions were foolhardy, per the AP. "Pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist," he said. Our original story from July follows:

The woman charged by a grizzly bear in an encounter caught on video at Yellowstone National Park has been charged again, this time in US District Court. Investigators used the video, which went viral on social media, to identify suspect Samantha Dehring; they asked for tips and someone sent one in, the Billings Gazette reports. Dehring unfollowed the park's Facebook page the same day it posted a photo of her on the page, and after getting a search warrant to view her Facebook page, the park found she had posted photos of the bears there.

Witnesses say that when they spotted the sow and her two cubs on May 15, they warned Dehring to move back but she did not. She was about 15 feet away from the bears; park regulations require visitors to be at least 300 feet away. The Illinois woman is charged with breaking federal law by feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife, WGN reports, as well as violating closures and use limits, and is set to appear in court next month. (A recent grizzly bear attack in Montana was fatal.)

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