The Grizzly Had Him. Then a Friend Fired Bear Spray

Bob Legasa recounts his close call in Wyoming
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2018 12:32 PM CDT
His Bear Spray Went Wrong Way, but Hunter Survives
This photo provided by Bob Legasa shows him in a hospital in Livingston, Mont.   (Bob Legasa via AP)

A grizzly bear attacked an elk hunter who surprised the sow and her cub north of Yellowstone National Park, with the bear sinking her teeth into his arm and clawing his eye before another hunter drove her off, the victim recounted Monday. The mauling of Bob Legasa, 57, in the Gallatin National Forest on Saturday was at least the seventh bear attack on a human since May in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Legasa, awaiting his second surgery on Monday, told the AP in a phone interview from his hospital room in Bozeman, Montana, that he and his hunting partner were moving toward some elk when he heard a growl. It was a 2-year-old cub and its mother about 12 yards away from the tree that he had just stepped away from. After the cub growled and moved aside, its mother charged, Legasa said.

"I was hoping it was going to be a bluff charge, and halfway through I realized it was going to be the real deal," he said. The bow hunter from Hayden, Idaho, didn't have time to reach for his bear spray. The grizzly bit his hand, breaking a bone in his forearm, and clawed at his eye, leaving a gash across the bridge of his nose. His hunting partner, Greg Gibson, discharged bear spray and the grizzly let go. Legasa pulled out his own spray, but inadvertently sprayed himself with the Mace-like mist. Gibson discharged his canister again, and the wind blew the mist back into his eyes as the bears ran off. Less than three weeks earlier, the two men made a bear spray safety video for Gibson's Montana Guide Service, Legasa said. Now, both were on the ground, blinded by bear spray. The men were eventually able to get back to their truck. (This bear attack ended in a guide's death.)

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