WARD, Colo. (CBS4)– A children’s’ mountain camp staff member feels lucky to be alive after he was attacked by a bear while asleep Sunday morning.
The 19-year-old staffer, Dylan, who preferred to be identified by first name only, teaches wildlife survival skills to the campers at Glacier View Ranch. The ranch is located in Boulder County near the town of Ward.
Around 4 a.m., he awoke to the bear clawing his face and biting his head.
“I never thought I would be attacked by a bear,” Dylan told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “I woke up to a crunching sound and a lot of pain… The bear had a hold of my head and was dragging me across the ground.”
As the bear’s teeth tore into flesh, Dylan fought back with all of the strength he had.
“I just started hitting the bear as hard as I could,” Dylan said. “And I found its eye, and I started poking it with my fingers…and it dragged me for about 10 feet before I was able to get it off of me.”
Other staff members helped to chase the bear off and provided emergency first aid to Dylan while paramedics rushed to the scene.
Wildlife management teams were using hounds and said they might also use traps to track down the bear for euthanization.
“A lot of citizens get very upset when we have to put animals down. I think it’s very important that we understand (that) we can’t have wildlife if we don’t have public safety,” said Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“Once in a while, if you have a near get in a trash (can) and then go back to natural food, that’s understandable. But when a bear is aggressive towards a person, that’s a behavior that we can’t tolerate. It can teach that behavior to other animals. Or, the behavior could escalate.”
After nine staples to close the gash on the back of his head along with an animal bite shot, Dylan is doing fine, and is already back at camp to finish the season.
“I feel really lucky,” Dylan said. “If I would have been turned any other direction (while asleep), it could have (gotten) the side of my face or my neck.”
In the last 10 years, Colorado has seen somewhere between 15 and 20 bear attack, Churchill said.
It was unknown what may have caused the most recent attack.
Once the bear is captured and euthanized, specialists will perform a necropsy, which could provide clues as to its aggressive behavior.