Being attacked by a bear is the stuff of many an outdoorsman’s nightmares. When it recently happened to a 17-year-old Montana boy who was out looking for shed antlers, he thought he was done for, but he amazingly managed to escape with his life.
According to ABC News, the boy reported to wildlife officials that he was walking down a hill 30 miles south of Ennis, Montana, in a fairly remote area when he heard a thump behind him.
When he turned around to look, he saw a grizzly bear charging right at him. Even though he was carrying bear repellent in his backpack, he told authorities that the bear was on him and pinned him to a tree before he could even react.
The bear reportedly pinned him to the tree for a minute, then let go, and the boy tried to crawl between two other trees for some protection. At that point, the bear pinned him face down on the ground.
While he was down, he managed to reach over his shoulder and remove the repellent from his backpack and spray the bear. After being sprayed, the bear released the boy and retreated.
The Daily Mail further reported that the boy was able to walk out of the woods on his own and contacted his family, who were in a cabin nearby, by radio.
They took him to Madison Valley Medical Center to be treated for his injuries. Astonishingly, his injuries were relatively minor and he was soon released. After receiving treatment, he made his report to local wildlife authorities.
Wildlife officials stated that based on the boy’s description of the incident, it’s very likely that the bear who attacked him was a grizzly, and that the bear’s behavior was fairly typical of unexpected encounters with bears of that type.
The area the boy had been walking in hosts a large population of bears, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks officials, who will be monitoring the area although they will not be taking any further action at this time.
Montana’s bear hunting season began on April 15, and wildlife officials warn people who are planning to engage in outdoor activities in that area or other areas with a high bear population to be wary while they’re engaged in their activities and note that bears are active during the spring, summer, and autumn months.
Furthermore, if you are going to be in areas where there may be bears, it’s extremely wise to be armed with, and know how to use, bear spray.
Other tips for outdoorsmen include staying aware of your surroundings, avoiding the carcasses of dead animals in the woods, traveling in groups whenever you can, and always making sure to store food properly in accordance with the US Forest Service regulations. In the event that you do see a bear, you should back away slowly, leave the area, and not ever approach it.
You might wonder how frequent attacks from bears or other wild animals actually occur in a given year. Roaring Earth was also curious and put together an article on which animals kill the most people in the US annually.
Interestingly, the animals that most people get really worried about, such as alligators, sharks, and bears are usually only responsible for about one death a year.
Both venomous snakes and spiders are each responsible for more fatalities than all of the first three animals mentioned combined, but they are still only responsible for about six or seven deaths annually.
Fire ants are usually responsible for about nine human deaths a year, but these are usually due to sensitive people going into anaphylactic shock as a result of receiving a high number of stings all at once. Cattle are responsible for about twenty deaths a year, which probably only should be a concern if you work on a ranch, and nearly thirty people a year die as the result of dog bites.
Of all the animals that are the biggest threat to human life, however, deer top the list. Yes, deer. Auto accidents caused by deer in the road are responsible for over 200 human fatalities a year.
While being attacked by a bear or another large predator makes for a splashy story, the statistical chances of it happening are actually very small, especially if you remember the previously mentioned tips. What you really need to be on the lookout for is Bambi.