Illinois woman headed to jail for photographing grizzly bears at Yellowstone

Written by on October 8, 2021


(CODY, Wyo.) — After a video of her trying to photograph grizzly bears went viral, a woman from Illinois has been sentenced to four days in jail and banned from Yellowstone National Park for a year.

Samantha Dehring, 25, from Carol Stream, Illinois, was charged on Oct. 6 for disturbing wildlife at Roaring Mountain in the park on May 10 while attempting to get a close-up picture of a grizzly bear and her cubs. Dehring has to spend four days in custody, a year on unsupervised probation and faces up to $2,040 in fines and fees.

In an announcement on Thursday, acting U.S. attorney Bob Murray on behalf of the District of Wyoming said: “Approaching a sow grizzly with cubs is absolutely foolish. Here, pure luck is why Dehring is a criminal defendant and not a mauled tourist.”

Dehring appeared before a magistrate judge in Mammoth Hot Spring, Wyoming, on Wednesday, more than a month after she was slated to appear. She was also charged with another count of feeding, touching, teasing, frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife, which was dismissed.

As per the National Park Service’s regulations: “willfully remaining near or approaching wildlife” is prohibited.

“The park is not a zoo where animals can be viewed within the safety of a fenced enclosure,” Murray said.

This news comes less than a month after Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon announced the state’s intention to ask the federal government to lift its protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area.

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