Imagine for a moment a man mauled by a black bear. According to Park Rangers in Washington state, it’s very rare. But ponder this: the same man is mauled by bears twice and actually lived to talk about it. This odd news story actually occurred last week with a jogger who fell victim to a bear attack in the same area — four years apart, according to a CBS Local news report.
Reporters talked with the victim, who only goes by the name of Bob. Apparently, the man was jogging along a common path for runners in the woods of Joint Base Lewis-McChord when the unthinkable occurred: he came face to face with an animal capable of killing him with one swipe of its paw or with a well-placed bite.
— Jus Swagg (@iDJswagg) April 27, 2015
Bob said that his dog Abby must have spooked the bear and caused it to become aggressive. The man was mauled by a bear before, but this time, he was a bit more prepared. So, he grabbed a broken tree limb and used it to defend himself from the bear’s charge, as the man explained.
“Multiple attacks on my shoulders, he bit me on my head, my arms, my hand. It would whip around, do this 180 and go for my leg, my shoulders, my head, and just come in and bite me again, and I would just try to nail it when it came in.”
“It was just running straight for me. The dog went running by me and I just had this déjà vu.”
It’s unclear how long the man fought off the bear mauling. All told, Bob suffered 40 bites to his body, facial lacerations from the animal’s claws, and bruising from the struggle with the animal. It brings up chilling reminders of how the man was mauled by a bear along the same path in 2011.
“It sort of jumped at me, grabbed me by my belly and my rear end and took me down, bit me and mauled me a couple times. I just rolled up in a ball and stayed still.”
The man still bears the scars from the previous mauling, and officials were unsuccessful in tracking down the culprit in that attack. This time, they stepped up efforts and were determined to not let this one slip away. A task force was assembled to locate the offender and take it alive if possible. It was a long shot, but they had to rule out whether the bear the man encountered the first time was responsible for the recent attack.
After six days, they located a bear with the help of bloodhounds. Their mission was to get a DNA sample and compare it to the first bear in the previous mauling. However, agents were forced to fatally shoot it when the animal suddenly became aggressive and charged. Although wildlife authorities are not sure it’s the repeat offender, they are close to certain the 300-pound animal they shot to death is the one that recently attacked Bob.
Veteran wildlife officer, Sgt. Ted Jackson, with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, expressed shock that bears mauled the man twice over the course of four years in the same area.
“The odds of being attacked once are very slim. The odds of being attacked twice, I would say it’s impossible, last week. But it happened. I just can’t even calculate the odds of being attacked once, let alone twice.”
If you think that’s rare, consider the experience of a Florida couple waking up suddenly to noise, only to realize that a bear had entered their Florida home and began feasting on Easter candy.
After the man was mauled not once, but twice by bears while on a run, he’s convinced that it’s time to take it easy; he’s getting “too old” to put up the good fight.
[Photo by John Sullivan via Wikimedia Commons]