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Montana bowhunter survives grizzly bear attack

Grizzly Bear

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A Montana bowhunter is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a 500 lb. grizzly bear while elk hunting last week south of Livingston, MT. Bob Legasa and his hunting partner, Greg Gibson, were spot and stalk hunting an elk that was about 100 yards. As they slowly made their approach, the “denseness of the vegetation made it difficult to see absolutely everything” – including a sow grizzly bear and her two-year-old cub when Legasa and Gibson “emerged onto a road,” the Couer d’Alene/Falls Press reports.

The two men startled the grizzly bear and she decided to attack.

“She was barreling straight toward me,” said Legasa. “I thought this might be a bluff charge. I braced myself like a football player bracing for impact. It was going to be a second or a second-and-a-half before I was hit. I did not want to take my eyes off of this bear."

Both men were armed with bear spray and, while Legasa fought off the sow, Gibson showered her with bear spray, accidentally hitting Legasa two times with the spray, too.

“I put my arms in front of me. I had my bow in one hand and had my arm out. She tried to get me into a bear hug headlock,” said Legasa. “She grabbed onto my arm and had it in her mouth. I was knocked over on my butt and at that point, I was kicking and screaming trying to move her away.”

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While Legasa was able to finally grab his own can of bear spray, he only managed to spray himself with it. It took Gibson’s third attempt with bear spray to make the sow retreat.

Legasa suffered claw marks to the face, gashes and puncture wounds on his arm and wrist and a fractured arm. Fortunately, once the bear fled, he was able to walk away from the attack and get to a hospital, first in Livingston and, then, in Bozeman where he had “to have surgery to clean out the wound,” according to the Couer d’Alene/Falls Press. Doctors also gave him a tetanus shot and started him on a rabies series.

Montana hunter attacked by grizzly

Photo credit: Couer d’Alene/Post Falls Press

As for the bear? Legasa says he doesn’t think it should be tracked down and euthanized; the grizzly bear was simply doing what she should in that situation: protect her cub. However, he does think more grizzly management would be effective.

“They’re just not afraid of anything. Having these types of encounters, they need to be relocated to an area that's not populated. If they could trap the bear and move it, that would be great,” said Legasa. “They’ve grown to a large population and there needs to be some management on it so we can lessen the population and the impact that we’re having with these confrontations with humans.”



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Amy W. - posted 4 months ago on 11-23-2018 06:11:01 pm

They are afraid of humans and generally do their best to avoid us. Fear is what causes the flight or fight reaction in a bear. Fear for their cubs sometimes triggers the fight instead of flight reaction. I imagine many times they flee and the person doesn't even know it was ever there. I'm glad these two guys were able to walk out in not too terrible of shape. And glad they didn't want to kill the bears.

And it's almost impossible not to get spray on the dude that's in the bears grasp... Collateral spray damage is worth it though

James k. - posted 5 months ago on 10-20-2018 04:45:03 pm

Just today my father in law walked into 60 yards of a Grizz why elk hunting. The bear had seen him and stood his ground, thankfully he did not move towards him.. He slowly backed away and everything was fine. This was within 10 miles of Missoula.

Bob L. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 02:00:09 pm

Chinese Fire Drill is a perfect description! Thanks Gary, I hope your getting out there chasing Bulls. Cheers.

Gary H. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 01:55:58 pm

I’m glad you can take a joke. I’m also very glad to see that you boys are OK. That is a very serious situation that you had yourself in. I have never been sprayed by bear spray before but I have no doubt it burns like hell.

That must’ve been quite the Chinese fire drill LOL

God blessed you both that day.

I hope you’re able to enjoy the rest of your hunting season and good luck to the both of you!

Bob L. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 01:46:36 pm

Gary H Not sure if you've ever sprayed Bear Spray, but the slightest wind and That stuff is everywhere. I got sprayed by my partner as he was so close to me and the bear. I mainly got spray residual on the first blast the second blast when the Bear let go of me and went for him, her head was less than 24" away from my head and at the same level as she dropped on all 4's for her charge. So by this time I couldn't see S&^% plus I had blood flowing in my left eye and during the frenzy of trying to get the safety off I blasted myself. Let me tell ya, It doesn't take much spray to drop ya.. When Greg sprayed the second time he took a good shot himself from it as the wind was in our face.
Oh yeah, I know I sprayed myself and we both kinda laugh about it now, BUT I wouldn't change that for anything.

All in all, the Bear Spray worked. We both pack 45's and I'm glad he didn't have to use it on the bear while she was on me. As far as killing the Bear, Im glad it didn't come to that as my life would be more of a friggen nightmare than it already is is from the Antis. The VEGAN community from England has come at me with both barrels wide open spewing the most hate filled, vulgar comments you can imagine. I've received thousands of some of the most crazy asinine threats from these groups. Some are just shy of a serious death threat.

FYI- The Rabies shots aren't like they used to be, Thank God!
And I'm good with jokes, as laughter is the best medicine.

Gary H. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 11:14:04 am

And for the record I wish they had killed the bear instead of just spraying it.

Gary H. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 11:13:14 am

"She tried to get me into a bear hug headlock"

Am I the only person who smirked at the though of this guy and his buddy spraying each other with bear spray while a bear was attacking them? I mean I know it may be too soon for jokes around the fire but if it was made into a cartoon......I'm just saying....

Thank god they didn't have guns...they would have made each other look like swiss cheese.

Too soon?? I know.... I know

On a serious note, I'm glad they are ok!

Those rabies shots are going to hurt worse than the bear bites...just saying. They really do hurt.
Clayton H. - posted 5 months ago on 10-18-2018 10:28:22 am

I'm sick of these constant bear attacks, if you want wild bears eating your children and scaring away your salmon that's your business, but I'm not gonna take it.