State Briefs

Bison gores Yellowstone visitor

JACKSON (WNE) — A California woman was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after being gored by a bull bison near Yellowstone National Park’s Fountain Paint Pot boardwalk.

Kim Hancock, a 59-year-old from Santa Rosa, was with a crowd of people who were mobbing the hefty wild animal when it apparently decided it felt cramped. The resulting goring made for the third time in four days an elk or bison has injured a Yellowstone visitor.

“This one is concerning, because there was actually a crowd of people on the boardwalk, and at one point they were closer than 15 feet from a bull bison,” Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said. “These are wild animals. That’s a terrifying thought to me, being that close.”

Hancock suffered a hip injury and was driven in an ambulance to Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky, Montana. Warthin was unclear on whether she needed to be carried out on a stretcher or was able to walk off, but she reported that the park visitor was “in good condition.”

This is the second instance of a bison attacking a Yellowstone visitor this year. The first week of May, 72-year-old Boise, Idaho, resident Virginia Junk was butted in the thigh and pushed off a trail in the Old Faithful area.

Two more recent ungulate-caused human injuries involved a protective cow elk near the Mammoth Hotel. Las Vegas resident Charlene Triplett was severely injured and airlifted to Idaho Falls’ Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center on Sunday, and then on Tuesday the incident repeated when Cypress, Texas, resident Penny Allyson Behr unknowingly walked by a bedded-down calf.

Grizzly shooting ruled self-defense

PINEDALE (WNE) — A Wyoming Game and Fish investigation into the May 31 shooting of a grizzly female who charged a dog and then faced a group of hikers determined it to be “self-defense.”

Pinedale Regional Supervisor John Lund said the grizzly sow’s killing was justified under the circumstances.

The incident occurred in the Boulder Basin area while four people were walking on a hillside with a dog that startled the female. They were not on a trail or road and not close to any buildings, he added.

“The dog saw the bear, the bear came after the dog, the dog ran back to the people,” he related.

The grizzly charged “head on” toward one man who was legally carrying a handgun and shot it several times as it ran to 10 feet in front of him.

“It happened really quickly,” Lund said.

One hiker carrying bear spray had it ready but couldn’t spray the bear because the other man was in front of him.

“They didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “They were in a group; they couldn’t spray and they had to defend themselves.”

The sow had two cubs with her that Lund thought were cubs of the year – several months old at the most – based on descriptions. The cubs have not been seen since even with quite a bit of searching.

The grizzly was wearing a collar that identified her as about 7 years old and previously caught in the Upper Green River area after some conflict, he said.

Mountain View boy loses fingers to firecracker

EVANSTON (WNE) — A ten-year-old Mountain View boy is lucky to be alive after picking up a lit firecracker recently.

Keaton Titmus lost three fingers and damaged another in the accident, which occurred around 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 30.

Keaton is reportedly recovering well, though, and his mother, Trisa Titmus, is grateful he is alive. In the meantime, she hopes to warn everyone to be careful when storing fireworks and to always supervise children around them.

“My son is here and alive,” she said, “and some other parent might not be so lucky.”

Trisa said Keaton had found a lighter in his grandfather’s junkyard and remembered where he had seen some fireworks stored some six months earlier, Trisa said.

The ten-year-old gathered the fireworks, waited until his grandma and one of his brothers were in the house and then headed behind a car to light an M-80 (a large, powerful firecracker) he had found.

After lighting the explosive, Keaton decided to pick it up and try to throw it — but it exploded in his hand, tearing away his right thumb and tendon and the first two fingers above the knuckles, besides severely damaging his ring finger.

His grandmother had heard the sound, so while Keaton was running toward the house, she was running toward the door. In short order his arm was wrapped in a towel and they were headed to the Lyman ambulance shack while calling 911.

He was then taken to Evanston, then flown by AirMed to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for surgery. Since then, Keaton has been amazing his medical team and family with his buoyancy, Trisa said, to the point that he is already learning to become left-handed.