John Sheets, a hunting guide with Boulder Basin Outfitters, was field dressing an elk with his female hunting client south of Cody, Wyoming, when a grizzly bear attacked without warning.
The chaotic encounter occurred last Thursday night in the Washakie Wilderness in the Shoshone National Forest located near Yellowstone National Park in the northwest corner of the state.
The grizzly bear attacked the hunter first, prompting Sheets to rush to her aid. He grabbed the bear by the neck and stabbed it with his hunting knife, according to the Cody Enterprise.
The grizzly then retaliated, but Sheets doesn’t have a clear recollection about what happened next, though he remembers the bear dragging the hunter down the hill.
“He chewed on her, came back up and chewed up the back of my head, my ear,” Sheets told the Cody Enterprise.
The hunter sustained unidentified injuries that were not life threatening, as did Sheets, though it’s known that the grizzly bear broke his leg and tore his ear.
The grizzly bear eventually grabbed one of the elk quarters and dragged it over Sheets and left the area to enjoy its bounty.
Sheets and the hunter managed to climb onto their horses, meet up with another outfitter and return to camp where they called 911, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department news release issued Tuesday.
Sheets told the Enterprise that the hunter was in stable condition at a different hospital, and that he would be released soon from a Billings, Montana, hospital. He’ll leave with a cast, stitches on his head and his ear stitched back on.
“First of all, we wish these individuals a speedy and full recovery and are appreciative of their willingness to provide detailed information to the investigators,” Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith said in the news release.
“This incident happened extremely quickly; it appears this is a situation of a grizzly bear aggressively taking an elk carcass for food. Due to the remoteness of the area and the inability to identify the offending bear, no management action will be taken at this time.”
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