A Washington man had to fight for his life when he was attacked by a bear last week, just four years after surviving his first bear attack.
For most people, bear attacks are not a common occurrence. For Bob, they happen as often as the Olympics.
Bob, who asked for his last name not to be used, was running with his dog Abby along a well-used trail in the woods near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Komo News reported.
Abby apparently spooked a 300-pound black bear and suddenly, Bob found himself in a surprisingly familiar situation. He grabbed a long tree branch and braced himself for his second bear attack in four years.
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“It was just running straight for me,” Bob told Komo News. “The dog went running by me, and I just had this deja vu.”
Bob said he suffered more than 40 bites, severe claw stripes and deep bruises after battling the black bear.
“It would whip around, do this 180 and go for my leg, my shoulders, my head, and just come in and bite me again, and I would just try to nail it when it came in,” he explained.
In 2011, Bob was attacked by a bear while running along the same trail with the same dog.
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“It sort of jumped at me, grabbed me by my belly and rear end and took me down, bit me and mauled me a couple times,” Bob said of the 2011 attack. “I just rolled up in a ball and stayed still.”
The bear would eventually leave, but Bob still has the scars from the attack. His story has left even seasoned wildlife officers in disbelief.
“The odds of being attacked once are very slim,” said Sgt. Ted Jackson of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The odds of being attacked twice, I would say it’s impossible, last week. But it happened.
“I just can’t even calculate the odds of being attacked once, let alone twice.”
A search for the bear who attacked Bob last week was carried out. A team of agents came across a bear they believe was the attacker and shot it.
The agents originally wanted to match the bear’s DNA before tranquilizing it but when they couldn’t corner the bear, they decided they had to shoot to kill.
Test results are pending, but the agents are confident they took down the right bear.
Bob wonders if the bear that attacked him last week was the same bear that attacked him four years ago. Either way, he is relieved.
“He was definitely after my head. So I was trying to protect everything up here and I was holding onto that stick and that was about the only thing that saved me,” Bob said. “I still say it. My friends are still saying it, ‘Why me?’”
Bob added that his bear fighting days are over.
“I love it up there,” Bob said of the woods surrounding JBLM. “But no. I’m just getting too old to fight ‘em anymore, to tell you the truth.”