Man Survives His Second Bear Attack in Four Years

   04.24.15

A Washington man is now recovering after a brutal bear attack last week that left him with more than 40 bites and lacerations. Surprisingly, the man still carries the scars from another bear attack less than four years ago. According to the man, who only identified himself as “Bob,” it was a terrifying sense of déjà vu.

“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,” he told KOMO News. “I still say it. My friends are still saying it. ‘Why me?'”

The two attacks occurred on the same trail in the woods near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and both times Bob was jogging with his dog. Wildlife experts say that dog walkers should be especially careful while in bear territory, as canines can attract aggressive bears or sows with cubs. Yet the trail was a popular one and despite having encountered another bear on it four years ago, Bob was not expecting trouble. He told reporters that he first noticed something was wrong when his dog ran past him. What followed was a large black bear charging straight for him out of the trees. He barely had enough time to grab a long tree branch, which he used throughout the fight to keep the bear at bay.

“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 said in an interview.

It was similar to his encounter in 2011, where Bob also had to fight for his life. In that attack, the jogger said he mostly curled up into a ball and tried to protect himself as much as possible. Since the bear from that attack was never captured, Bob suspects that the same bear may have been behind both encounters.

“The odds of being attacked once are very slim,” Sgt. Ted Jackson of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife told KOMO. “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.”

KIRO 7 reported that wildlife officers shot a 310-pound bear on Tuesday and that a preliminary examination of the animal’s mouth matches the bite marks on Bob. The bear was found less than 100 yards from where the jogger was attacked. Officers initially wanted to tree the animal with hunting dogs and tranquilize it, but the bear reacted aggressively and attempted to charge the officers. It was shot and killed.

As for Bob, he says he intends on finding a different trail to jog on from now on.

You can watch an interview with Bob below:

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