GRAHAM, Wash. - A grizzly bear seriously injured a man from Graham who was elk hunting in Montana, according to wildlife officials.
Donivan Campbell spoke only to KIRO 7 about the terrifying attack on September 16 at Gravelly Mountain in Montana. He and his friend, Chris Gregersen, were on an elk hunting trip when they surprised a grizzly bear. Campbell and Gregersen ran in different directions.
“I mean, it was no more than a few seconds and that bear caught up to me,” Campbell says, “That’s when the bear grabbed my leg.”
Gregersen knew what was going on immediately.
“I heard the bear catch Donivan before I actually saw it,” he describes, “and it’s a scream I hope that I never have to hear ever again in my entire life.”
Donivan was on the ground when Gregersen reached him carrying a gun, pulling the trigger just in time.
“I could feel his mouth right behind my head,” Donivan said.
If Gregersen did not shoot, Donivan says he would have been killed.
“I would not be sitting here. I'm 100 percent convicted of that,” he said.
Gregersen says he saw the bear crawl across his friend as it tried to bite him. Donivan was pushing the bear’s face away when Gregersen approached and shot the bear, temporarily scaring it away.
The hunters say the bear kept coming back to attack.
“It charged again just as quickly as it did the first time,” Gregersen explains, “We have never seen an animal that was that furious, that was that terrifying.”
After shooting the bear multiple times, the friends were able to escape.
Donivan suffered deep gashes on his leg.
Despite the injury, the two ran through rough terrain by hacking branches for about one mile.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says Donivan was injured in a back-to-back grizzly bear attack. Earlier that morning, two hunters were attacked by a grizzly bear. It’s unclear if the same bear is responsible for both incidents. Officials closed the area and searched for the bear by ground and by air but did not locate it.
“We operated under the false pretense that if you’re careful, if you’re prepared then this won’t happen,” Gregersen says, “There are animals out there that will attack you just for existing.”
Gregersen says his recovery has been especially emotional because he and his wife are expecting their first child.
“This was it. This was how this was going to end and that was very, very terrifying,” he said.
A GoFundMe page set up to help with Donivan Campbell’s recovery.
Hunters should be sure to go with friends and bring something to protect themselves, according to Gregersen and Campbell.
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