Man describes grizzly bear attack in Grand Teton National Park

May 28, 2024, 3:41 PM

FILE - A Massachusetts disabled combat veteran is speaking out about being attacked by a grizzly be...

FILE - A Massachusetts disabled combat veteran is speaking out about being attacked by a grizzly bear in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

(CNN) A Massachusetts disabled combat veteran is speaking out about being attacked by a grizzly bear in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Last weekend, 35-year-old Shayne Patrick of South Hadley was seriously injured by a bear in the area of Signal Mountain Summit Road, which overlooks Jackson Lake.

“I was attacked by a mother Grizzly protecting her cub,” Patrick wrote on his Instagram page. “It was the most violent thing I have ever experienced.”

The combat veteran said he has experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions.

‘Hopeful I’d see one’

Patrick, a wildlife photographer, said he traveled to Signal Mountain with his wife to photograph a Great Grey Owl. “My wife and I had learned that this was a hot spot for the species, and I was hopeful I’d see one,” he said.

Patrick said his wife stayed with their vehicle at the trailhead parking lot while he went exploring.

He said he was walking through a thick wooded area in a valley when he spotted a brown bear cub running up a hill about 50-70 yards in front of him and immediately recognized the potential danger.

“I unholstered my bear spray and saw the mother bear charging,” Patrick said. “I stood my ground, shouted and attempted to deploy the bear spray, but as I did, she already closed the gap.”

Patrick said the bear pounced onto his back, slashing his back and right shoulder before biting his legs and picking him up and slamming him back on the ground multiple times.

He said that a can of bear repellant ultimately saved his life when the bear, “went in for a kill bite” on his neck, and simultaneously bit the bear spray he was holding, which exploded in the bear’s mouth.

The National Park Service urges anyone walking down trails in rural National Parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone to carry bear spray. “The proper use of bear spray will reduce human injuries caused by bears as well as the number of grizzly bears killed in self-defense,” the National Park Service said on its website.

Speed of bears

The National Park Service said bears can easily outrun any human.

“Running may elicit attacks from non-aggressive bears,” the park service said. “If the bear is unaware of you, detour quickly and quietly. If the bear is aware but has not acted aggressively, back slowly away while talking in an even tone or not at all.”

“Bears may interpret direct eye contact as threatening,” the park service said. “Do not climb trees – all black bears and some grizzly bears can also climb trees.”

Patrick suffered puncture wounds to his hand, legs, and upper back.

He said he improvised tourniquets before crews tracked him down and rushed him to the hospital.

Patrick also said he urged park rangers not to kill the bear, since she was defending her cub.

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Man describes grizzly bear attack in Grand Teton National Park