If a California vet fights bear claws using his own bare hands you would think the outcome would be in favor of the 200-pound grizzly bear. But U.S. Marines veteran Larry Yepez says he was able to punch the bear to freedom only to escape while wielding a samurai sword.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Yellowstone national park had a mother grizzly bear put down after DNA evidence confirmed the bear’s attack had killed a hiker.
Larry Yepez says he had exited his home in the middle of the night in order to use a detached restroom when he spotted the grizzly bear. Since Yepez had experience in the U.S. Forest Service, he yelled as the bear charged at him in order to try and scare it off. When the bear did not back off, the U.S vet threw a plastic flower pot but the bear took him to the ground.
As the vet fights bear claws baring down on his face, Yepez said he had a flashback to his days with the U.S. Marines.
“My (U.S. Marine Corps) unit fought for two days in Operation Kingfisher along the north-south border,” the 66-year-old veteran explained. “We could hear the (North) Vietnamese yelling ‘Marines – you die!’ that first night…. When that bear was on top of me, it felt like that day. You know it’s fight or die, and I was fighting for my life.”
Yepez says he first began punching the animal with his right hand, but when he switched to his left, the bear attacked that arm.
“I could hear something crunching as he had a hold of my hand,” the vet said. “His eyes were 6 inches away from mine. That’s when he ripped into my face and neck.”
The retired U.S. Marine realized that he had to get out quickly so he tried kicking the huge beast off of him. The bear toppled to the ground for a moment, but then resumed its attack. This is when Benji the Yorkshire terrier came to the rescue by nipping at the bear’s back legs as the vet fights bear claws off once again. This momentary distraction by the dog allowed Yepez to bolt for his home’s door.
“The bear started to push against the door, and I braced my shoulder against it,” he said, according to the Fresno Bee. “I grabbed a samurai sword in case he pushed through the door.”
With sword in hand, the U.S. vet realized how badly injured he was and decided to make a break for his van. Even then, the bleeding man had to drive 9.4 miles to the nearest hospital in Mariposa County. The hospital staff could not believe their eyes when he staggered in while dripping blood on the ground. The damage to his stomach was so bad that doctors said he was mere inches from being disemboweled.
According to the Merced Sun-Star, authorities were unable to find the bear which was responsible for the attack. Lt. Chris Stoots of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said if the bear is found then it will be shot in the most humane way possible.
Frank Milazzo, the game warden for Mariposa County investigating the incident, said Larry Yepez was treated for rabies before he was released.
“Mr. Yepez is a very tough individual,” Milazzo said. “He is a Vietnam veteran and is used to defending himself in situations. He did an amazing job of survival. It could have turned out a lot worse.”
Despite suffering terrible injuries from the California bear attack, Yepez says he will never move away from his own in the mountains. Instead, the son of a Native American mother gave himself a new Indian name: He who fights bears and lives.
[Image via Getty Images]