A bow hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear in Montana, resulting in a head wound that required 90 stitches to close.
“The bear just flat-out charged us,” Tom Sommer, 57, told TIME from his hospital bed on Tuesday. He said the bear was eating an elk carcass before charging at him and his hunting partner who were searching for elk.
“It bit my thigh, ran his claws through my wrist and proceeded to attack my head,” Sommer said. “I could hear bones crunching, just like you read about.”
When he and his hunting partner spotted the bear, his partner used bear spray to slow the animal down. But, Sommer struggled with his bear spray canister. He said he was unable release the safety on it, so he ran, dropping the spray in the process. He was, however, able to grab his pistol. But, Sommer recalled that the bear swatted his arm down, and attacked him until Sommer’s partner deployed the remainder of his bear spray.
“Just like that it stopped. He stopped biting me, he got up and started to run away,” said Sommer, who added that the attack seemed to last for about 25 seconds. During that time, the bear put Sommer’s head in his mouth and bit his thigh, according to KTVQ.
Sommer said it could have been much worse. Thankfully, his hunting partner carried blood coagulation powder for their escapade. They created a turban, which eventually halted the bleeding as they walked a mile back to their camp before riding mules for another 4 miles, just to drive two hours to get to the nearest hospital.
Sommer has no animosity toward the bear that bit him, either.
“I’ve been a hunter my whole life,” he said. “I have no grievance against the bear. He was just doing what bears do. But I would have shot him just the same.”
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