When it is impossible to escape from an attacking black bear, the National Park Service advises hitting the animal in the face—and it was a strategy that may have saved the life of North Carolina man Sonny Pumphrey. The 78-year-old says he was in his driveway when a mother bear and two cubs showed up, CTV reports. He says the cubs ran off, but the mother reared up and then charged him. "She made a charging dead run at me. That sucker was eyeball-to-eyeball to me," the Haywood County man tells WLOS. He says he "hit her right dead on the point of the nose the first shot," but when he did, the bear dropped down and started trying to bite him on the hip.
Pumphrey says he kept hitting the bear and she kept trying to bite him. "She got a hold of me and then shook me a little bit, then she let go and she took a swat at me," he says. "And when she took a swat at me she knocked me about eight feet over on the concrete." The bear ran off when Pumphrey's wife, Betty, and their Yorkshire terrier heard the noise and came outside to investigate. Pumphrey survived without serious injury, though he received a bite to the hip and will need to have rabies shots. "We have a lot to be thankful for because we were both very, very lucky," Betty Pumphrey says. (This woman was attacked by a bear less than a week after starting her "dream job.")