The black bear appeared dead, so 22-year-old Alex Machavo of Medford, Oregon approached it thinking it was. Machavo and his hunting buddy, Nathan Shinn, 24, of Phoenix were actually hunting deer Thursday afternoon near Elk Creek Road in Jackson County when the pair spotted the bear.
The men had bear hunting tags and so they fired at the bear, hitting it in the abdomen. Perhaps it was only shock that caused the bear to lie down in the meadow, but when Machavo and Shinn got close enough, they realized they surely did not finish the job.
The bear startled awake and grabbed at Machavo. A tussle ensued; the bear bit Machavo on the right side of his body injuring his arm and hand, then he pulled him into a bear hug. The two rolled down a 50-foot embankment with Shinn in hot pursuit. If it weren’t for Shinn, who finally killed the bear with a shot to the head, this story may have ended much differently for Machavo.
“To make sure something is dead, confirm it with the barrel,” Senior Trooper Jim Collom of the Oregon State Police Division of Fish and Wildlife told the Mail Tribune.
Shinn and Machavo separated in an attempt to get cell phone reception to call for help. Within 10 minutes of placing the call, a sheriff’s lieutenant located Machavo, while Shinn was located an hour later. Machavo was transported over ground to the Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford and treated for his injuries.
The hunters’ next task will be to return to the site to locate the bear. Initially, they could not remember the bear’s location, but Collom said that by law, “they have to salvage everything and they have to check in the bear to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.”