Grizzly Bear Charges, Mauls Hunter

HELENA, Mont. (CBS4) – A bow hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear feasting on an elk carcass.

It slashed Tom Sommer’s, cutting a 16-inch gash in his head that required 90 stitches to close.

“The bear just flat-out charged us,” he told CBS News, saying it closed the 30-foot distance in seconds.

Sommer said he and a hunting partner were looking for elk when they spotted the grizzly north of the Idaho border in the Gravelly Range.

His hunting partner used a blast of bear spray, which slowed the bear’s charge, as Sommer grabbed his pistol. He still had it in his hand when the bear swatted down his arm.

“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.”

montana bear maul Grizzly Bear Charges, Mauls Hunter

(credit: Tom Sommer / Facebook)

And then, “just like that it stopped. He stopped biting me, he got up and started to run away.”

Following the attack, Sommer says they walked a mile back to camp and then rode mules another four miles out, which was then followed by a two-hour car ride to get the hospital.

RELATED: Reminder: Secure Your Trash Cans, Bears Are Still Out

“Through it all I was very conscious, very level-headed and low key about it,” Sommer said. “Besides some scars, it doesn’t appear that I will have any problems.”

A Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks official said they would not try to capture the bear since it was acting in self defense.

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