15-year-old boy on a wilderness expedition for emotionally troubled
youths woke up to find a 400-pound brown bear sow with a bad
attitude sitting at his feet.
Barrow boy thought at first that a camp counselor was rustling
around at the foot of his tent Saturday morning on Deer Island
in Southeast Alaska. But when he figured out it was a bear,
the teen, keeping his wits about him, tried to slip away quietly.
bear would have none of it.
seems that pretty calmly (the boy) wriggled his way backward
out of the back of the tent as the bear was going over the top
of the tent," state trooper Adam Benson said Monday. "They
kind of met up at the back of the tent. The bear came down,
mouth open, toward him."
said the boy put up his right arm to fend off the sow. She bit
his forearm, leaving two puncture wounds.
boy decided to fight back -- a risky approach to take, particularly
with a brown bear, the trooper said.
told me he punched the bear half a dozen times with his left
hand" and the bear let him go, Benson said.
the teenager got up and tried to run, the bear bit him again
on the right side of his torso, just below his ribs, this time
leaving half a dozen puncture wounds on his back, Benson said.
boy punched the bear again a couple of times, and again she
let him go.
jumped behind a little cluster of trees and kind of played keep-away
with the bear," Benson said.
one of the turns around the trees, the boy remembered that he
had an air horn in his gear and grabbed it on the run. He blew
the horn in the bear's face. The sound woke up the other counselors
and boys in the camp, said Steve Prysunka, director of the six-week
Crossing Wilderness Expeditions for Youth program.
said counselor Willy Hollett stepped between the boy and the
bear and hit her with pepper spray. The bear reared up, and
he sprayed her again; then the bear reared up once more.
the meantime, another counselor fired a flare at the bear's
feet, finally causing her to turn and run.
boy was taken to the program's floating camp, a barge with a
lodge anchored about one-eighth of a mile away. An emergency
medical crew arrived by float plane about 30 minutes later to
take him to Ketchikan General Hospital, where he was treated
and released a few hours later, Prysunka said.
said he was at the hospital when the teen was brought in on
a stretcher. He was sitting up and looked relaxed.
told me it didn't hurt," Benson said. "I would attribute
that to a pretty good shot of adrenaline."
asked that the boy not be identified in news reports.
Saturday afternoon, another trooper and a couple of U.S. Forest
Service employees returned to the campsite area, found the sow
and killed her. There were no signs she had any cubs with her.
said the counselors the evening before had checked on the campers
to make sure no food had been left out to attract bears.
boy had some Rice-A-Roni he wanted to keep.
said: 'No, don't take this. I'm going to eat this in a little
while,' " Benson said. "Apparently he fell asleep
before he got it done. There was some food left at the foot
of his tent."
boy was being sent home to give his wounds time to heal, Prysunka
think he is the biggest, baddest thing in the woods. He punched
the bear," Prysunka said.