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Woman sentenced to federal custody after getting too close to grizzlies while taking pictures
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Woman sentenced to federal custody after getting too close to grizzlies while taking pictures

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Park bear woman

The woman videoed approaching within 15 feet of a Grizzly sow and her two cubs in Yellowstone National Park in May of this year has been charged with two citations. Investigators used tips and an investigation of social media posts to identify the Illinois tourist. 

A woman who was charged by a grizzly bear while taking photos in Yellowstone National Park was ordered to serve four days in federal custody and pay fines, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Samantha Dehring, 25, of Carol Stream, Illinois, pleaded guilty Wednesday to willfully remaining, approaching and photographing wildlife within 100 yards. A second charge of frightening or intentionally disturbing wildlife was dropped.

Magistrate Judge Mark Carman sentenced Dehring at a hearing in Mammoth Hot Springs. In addition to receiving four days in federal custody, she was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and a $1,000 community service payment. Carman also banned her from Yellowstone for one year.

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“Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are, indeed, wild. The park is not a zoo where animals can be viewed within the safety of a fenced enclosure. They roam freely in their natural habitat and when threatened will react accordingly,” Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Murray said in a statement. “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 visited the park’s Roaring Mountain area on May 10 when visitors noticed a sow grizzly and three cubs. Other visitors backed away and got into their vehicles, but Dehring remained and continued to take photos, according to authorities and video of the incident.

She continued to take photos even as the sow bluff charged her, authorities say.

The incident was captured on video and went viral on social media.

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