+Bilder Posted September 25, 2003 Share Posted September 25, 2003 Bear attack news report Hunter surprised grizzly sow, cub on trail near Sutton Victim, 54, patches wounds with duct tape, walks 2 miles, then drives to Valley Hospital By S.J. KOMARNITSKY Anchorage Daily News (Published: September 25, 2003) WASILLA -- Bill Murphy spotted the little bear out of the corner of his eye and knew he was in trouble. It was a grizzly cub and next to it was mom. In an instant, the sow's head snapped around, and she was charging. "I didn't even have time to jump," Murphy said, recalling the attack in an interview Wednesday at his home near Wasilla. The 54-year-old heavy-equipment operator grabbed his rifle from the side of his backpack but couldn't raise it before the sow slammed into him, pinning him stomach first to the ground. She clamped her jaws around his right shoulder and started shaking him like a rag. He felt her teeth pressing against his skin, then a pop as they sliced through. "I just lay perfectly still and said, 'God, don't bite my head,' " he said. A gregarious man with graying hair, Murphy suffered bites to his shoulder, thigh and buttock in the attack Sept. 17 along a trail north of Sutton. Polaroid photos taken at the hospital of the worst bite on his hip show an ugly red gash that looked like something made with a dull knife. The bear also ripped his backpack, bloodied his down vest and left him with a nasty ring of deep purple bruises and welts on his shoulder. "I wouldn't want to recommend doing this on anybody's to do list," he said. Murphy ran into the bear on the Permanente trail off the Glenn Highway north of Sutton. An avid hunter, he'd gone to the area to hunt for sheep and moose. He rode in about 15 miles on a four-wheeler before putting on his backpack and setting out on foot. He'd gone about two miles when he decided to walk through some willows to look for moose. In retrospect, he said, he should have made more noise given that he was walking into a headwind. He saw the bears as he popped into a small clearing. They were lying down about 40 feet away at the edge of the clearing. The sow was facing away from him. But when her cub stood up, she turned her head and immediately headed for him. "She made no noise," Murphy said. "She was on her feet and coming before I could blink an eye." Murphy said at first he didn't know what to do, but as she continued to bite him he got mad. "I said, 'Oh screw this. I can't just lay here and take this.'" He slid his rifle free and jabbed the barrel at the bear. He doesn't know where he hit the animal, but the sow grabbed the rifle and started shaking it. "It felt like you had a dog and were fighting with a broomstick handle," he said. "I just held onto it as hard as I could." At some point, the bear let go, but then stood over Murphy, panting and drooling onto his head. All he could think about was the bear attack this summer near the Russian River in which a man bitten on the face was blinded. "I just tried to keep my face down. I laid as flat as I could," he said. Finally, the bear started to move away. Murphy said he got up planning to shoot the sow, but then realized his rifle had fallen apart. The stock was broken off. He said he has no idea how long the attack lasted, but it felt like "two lifetimes." Still, his ordeal was far from over. He was bleeding and needed help. He wrapped duct tape around his shoulder and cut up a cloth bag to wrap around his thigh. He then put on his backpack, hiked out to his four-wheeler and began riding out. He said he ran into some other hunters who helped dress his wounds, then continued on his way. They offered to help him get back to his truck, but Murphy told them he could make it on his own. He got back to his Ford pickup and drove about a half hour to Valley Hospital in Palmer, sitting on his jacket to keep from getting blood on his truck seat. He reached the hospital parking lot just as shock started to set in. "I opened my door and looked down and said, 'Whoa, I don't know if I can make it.' " He walked up to the counter and said, "I need some help, I've been bitten by a bear." Murphy said doctors told him it will be about two weeks before his wounds heal. They didn't stitch up the bites because of the possibility of infection. Instead he has to clean them with antibiotic-treated gauze. He also has to be careful how he moves. For now, he has to sleep on his stomach and can't sit down. He said he doesn't plan to give up hunting, but hopes not to run into any other bears. "I can laugh about it now, but I wasn't laughing then," he said. Reporter S.J. Komarnitsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have never been lost. Been awful confused for a few days, but never lost! N61.12.041 W149.43.734 Quote Link to comment
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