Woman sentenced to four days in prison for Yellowstone grizzly bear incident

(CNN) – A 25-year-old Illinois woman has been sentenced to four days in federal custody for being too close to a bear and its cubs in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.

According to a Justice Department news release, Samantha Dehring pleaded guilty on October 6 to “willful living, approaching and photographing wildlife within 100 yards.”

The second count of feeding, touching, teasing, intimidating or intentionally harassing wildlife was rejected.

In addition to four days in custody, Dehring received one year of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund and a $1,000 community service payment, a $30 court processing fee, and a $10 assessment. Dehring is banned for one year in Yellowstone National Park.

According to a Justice Department spokesman, Dehring will serve his time in federal custody in a county jail.

According to the violation notice, the allegations stemmed from an incident at Roaring Mountain on May 10, 2021, when a boar and its three cubs were sighted. The other visitors slowly backed off and got into their vehicles, but Dehring stopped. “She continued to take pictures as the sow hoax charged her up,” the news release said.

“The wildlife in Yellowstone National Park is truly wild. The park is not a zoo where the animals can be observed within the safety of an enclosure. They roam freely in their natural habitat and will react accordingly when threatened ,” said Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray in the Justice Department announcement. “It is absolutely foolish to sow grizzlies with cubs. Here, pure luck that Dehring is a criminal defendant, not a tourist.”

Yellowstone lists activities prohibited on its own Website. In addition to regulations related to wildlife, rules related to the famous geysers and other thermal features of the park have been outlined.
β€œIt is prohibited to walk within 100 yards (91 meters) of bears or wolves, or within 25 yards (23 meters) of other wildlife,” another page says.

Photo: Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)


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