Tom Sommer and his bow hunting partner were hunting elk in southwestern Montana north of the Idaho border. Suddenly, Tom’s partner spotted a grizzly bear that was feeding on the carcass of an elk.
When the grizzly spotted them he immediately charged at the hunters ferociously and at high speed.
Fortunately for the two, the hunting partner had his trusted bear spray handy which slowed the bear’s attack somewhat.
Tom Sommer (Yahoo News)
Sommer was not so successful. In fact, he appears to have been the clown of the two. First, because of his intense fear of the attacking bear, his reactions were sloppy and not very effective. Consider for example, that he forgot to release the safety. Realizing the omission, he did the next best. He ran around the nearest tree two times dropping his bear spray in the process.
While circling the tree, he pulled his pistol to fend off the bear. That did not work too well either. Instead of shooting the bear in the neck, the grizzly took a well-aimed swipe at Sommer swatting his arm with the pistol down.
Undeterred, the grizzly bear bit Sommer in the thigh, clawed his wrists and then began to attack Tom’s head. Fortunately, Tom had a level-headed partner who stayed cool and controlled under intense pressure. He fired a few doses of the remaining bear spray at the raging grizzly. It ended the grizzly bear attack in Montana. The entire episode did not last longer than an estimated 25 seconds.
Nevertheless, the result was severe injuries to Somme r’s head. It took 90 stitches to close the gash in in his head. And again, Tom’s partner was obviously better prepared and equipped to deal with a bear attack.
He had some coagulation powder to stop the bleeding which took about 15 minutes. Thereafter, the two walked approximately 2 miles to their camp and then rode their mules another 4 miles to their base camp. The following two-hour truck ride finally got them to a hospital in Ennis.
Despite the horrific looks of the injury before professional treatment, Sommer expects only a few scars to remain as a reminder to be super careful around grizzly bears.
Sommer sums up his experience like this:
“I’ve been a hunter my whole life. Have no grievance against the bear. He was just doing what bears do. But I would have shot him just the same.”
Well said. If he only had been as cool and level-headed as he claims to have been. And, aren’t firearms a no-no during bow hunting? At least in California, they are.