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A Utah Department of Wildlife Resources biologist was released from the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center today after accidentally being shot with tranquilizer meant for a bear.

The unnamed biologist, a 20-year DWR veteran, was with a group of six other DWR staff monitoring black bears in the Book Cliffs region of eastern Utah when the accident occurred Tuesday afternoon.

The biologists had located a mother black bear, or a sow, with the use of a radio collar placed on the bear last year. DWR personnel also knew the sow gave birth to two cubs last year, according to a DWR news release.

“We were curious to see if the cubs had survived,” said Dax Mangus, DWR regional manager. “We successfully darted the collared female and noticed one yearling bear also in the den with her. We loaded another dart, and were ready to dart the yearling when the dart accidentally discharged and struck the biologist in the hand.”

Just two weeks ago, five of the seven biologists monitoring black bears in the group completed DWR’s annual wildlife chemical immobilization training, Mangus said, which helped group members form and carry out a rescue plan.

The bear’s den was located on the side of a steep cliff. The injured biologist hiked safely to the top of the ridge before finding shade under trees while others hiked to find a cell phone signal. Almost two hours after the incident, a medical helicopter transported the biologist to the Provo hospital where he spent the night.

“The biologist needs time to rest and recover,” said Mark Hadley, DWR public information officer. “He’s asked that we not share his name.”

From The Spectrum