What you would do if you were attacked by a wild animal? Unfortunately, Portland State University junior, Theron Jourdan, 19, recently had to find out.
Jourdan and his companion Andrea Haver, 22, were attacked by a grizzly bear while hiking in West Glacier, Mont., Saturday, June 29.
Jourdan, an environmental science major, was working in Montana over the summer and was returning with Haver from a weekend camping trip in Glacier National Park at Synder Lake when their fun came to an end. As Jourdan and Haver were hiking out of the campsite they frightened a bear.
“It jumped on her [Haver] first and she went down,” Jourdan said. “It was pretty intense and really scary.”
Jourdan said he went running and screaming towards the bear. After Jourdan attacked the bear, the bear fought back.
Jourdan said he knew to lay on the ground with his hands behind his head. He kept rolling over trying to keep his backpack between him and the angry grizzly.
The entire incident lasted only a few seconds.
Jourdan suffered a bite to his right arm just below the shoulder. The bite included four puncture wounds, each about two inches deep.
Haver was wounded also, receiving bite marks on her back and her side.
Some campers the two had met the night before helped Jourdan and Haver get to a lodge some five miles away.
Jourdan and Haver spent a total of four hours at the hospital and were given some antibiotics before being released.
The attack has not deterred Jourdan, who plans to continue camping on his days off.
“Be careful when hiking in Glacier Park, but come see it, it is amazing,” Jourdan said.
According to a recent article in The Oregonian, this was the first grizzly attack in Glacier this year.
The article states that Glacier Park gets an estimated two million visitors a year. Out of those, about two visitors sustain moderate or severe injuries from grizzly attacks. Nearly 300 grizzly bears call the park home.
In Oregon, the bear threat is not with grizzlies, but with black bears.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the black bear is the only bear that exists in Oregon. There are an estimated 25,000 black bears in Oregon, the majority of which live in Western Oregon because of higher food supplies.
The ODFW Web site states that there are no definite rules about what to do if you meet a bear, but that in most cases, the bear will detect you first and leave the area.
However, if you do encounter a bear, stay calm and speak softly. The main thing is to not confront or upset the bear. Give the animal plenty of room to escape. Wild bears rarely attack people unless they feel threatened or provoked.
If you are on a trail, step off the trail on the downhill side and slowly leave the area. Do not run or make any sudden movements
Officials also say that if you are being charged by a bear, to place your back pack slowly on the ground and then slowly back away. They say the bear is likely to go for the backpack instead of you.
Finally if you are attacked by a black bear, the ODFW officials say to fight back. Black bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks and sticks. Pepper spray can also be an effective deterrent.
If you are attacked by a bear, contact the ODFW, the Oregon State Police or your local sheriff’s department.