A teenage camp counselor was sound asleep when a crunching sound woke him up. It took him just a second to realize that sound was a bear clamping down on his head. The teenager, identified only as Dylan, was one of the staff people at this wilderness camp who was sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag when the bear wandered into camp unnoticed. This black bear attack occurred at the Glacier View Ranch, about 50 miles outside of Denver, Colorado.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson, Jennifer Churchill said the bear had clamped its jaws around the teen’s head and pulled him across the ground. It was 4 a.m. when the bear attacked the teen, who woke up fighting for his life.
Dylan punched the bear in his head as the rest of the staffers at this camp yelled at the bear and swatted at the creature who was pulling their co-worker away from the campsite. The bear managed to pull Dylan out of his sleeping bag and about 10-12 feet away from where he was sleeping before he was able to break free of the bear.
According to local NBC News, Dylan told reporters that the crunching sound that woke him up must have been the bear “scraping against the skull as it dug in.” Dylan, who teaches wilderness survival at the camp, was sleeping near the teepees where the 12- to 13-year-old campers sleep. They were not hurt in the incident. Dylan said that at first, he thought he was dreaming, according to local Fox News. But it didn’t take long for the reality of it all set in.
Dylan told reporters how he managed to get away from the bear.
“The bear grabbed my head with his paw and pulled it like this. Then, grabbed the back of my head,” Dylan said. “I did not know what going on. Once I saw the bear, heard it’s breath, it was pretty scary.”
The teen continued with his story.
“I grabbed ahold of the bear by his ear and I found his eye, and I was poking it. It just let go of me and I was able to get away,” he said. He was injured in this attack, needing nine staples in the gash the bear left on his head, according to local Fox News.
The camp is owned by the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, according to NBC. This was a black bear that attacked the teen camp counselor, which is unusual for this species. They are not usually aggressive towards humans. but this isn’t an isolated incident in recent weeks, as several people have been attacked by black bears in the West.
Black bears killed two people in separate incidents in Alaska last month. They were unprovoked attacks. A woman walking her dogs was attacked last week in Idaho. They had come across a mother bear and her cubs in a huckleberry patch, which is what preceded that attack. According to NBC, black bears will defend their young, which is what the bear with her cubs may have been doing in last week’s Idaho attack.
Black bears will also go after tents with food stored inside, but in the case of the teen at the wilderness camp, there was no food nearby to attract the bear.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff have set up bear traps in the area to catch this aggressive bear. Dogs will be brought into the area today, Monday, to hunt down the bear. According to NBC, the behavior of this bear was “so atypical” that if it is caught, it will likely be euthanized.
The Wildlife Department will have DNA testing done on the bears to see if one is a match for the bear that attacked Dylan.
[Featured Image by Becky Bohrer/AP Images]