New Mexico Camper Wakes Up To a Bear Biting His Head in Terrifying Encounter

by Sean Griffin

New Mexico rancher Dean Dommer claims he numbers about 100 peaceful black bear encounters in the last year on his property. He lives near Glorieta Pass in the Santa Fe National Forest.

The rancher chalks up the activity to recent wildfires that displaced countless wildlife across the area. That, combined with his pond and hummingbird feeders, mean he sees the bears quite frequently.

So, he was absolutely stunned when friend Paul Georgoulis ran into his house at 3:30 a.m. on August 11, blood running down his face.

He shouted that he’d been bitten by a bear while out “cowboy camping” on the ranch. He planned to sleep on the property after other plans fell through. Dommer allowed him to stay, although he warned it was bear season. Georgoulis grabbed a sleeping bag and chose a spot. He ended up switching to another spot later in the night, which proved to be a mistake.

“I didn’t see where he camped until after the attack, but it turns out he ended up accidentally camping right on a bear trail,” Dommer says.

Georgoulis recalls the attack. “I could hear it sniffing like a dog, so I kind of froze up and didn’t do anything for a split second, and then it put its teeth around my head and started to bite,” Georgoulis told Outdoor Life. “All I could think was ‘well, I have two options right now: keep letting it do what it’s doing or scream as loud as you can.’ So I tried screaming and it let go of me. It did that lumbering walk away that bears do when they’re scared.”

Vicious Black Bear Attack Leaves Man Needing Staples in Head

Once the bear fled, Georgoulis sprinted to Dommer’s house.

“He showed up at my door and he was obviously distraught and kind of bleeding profusely from the head,” Dommer says.

“It was like something out of the movie Deliverance,” Georgoulis recalled, laughing. “I was in my underwear, bleeding like a stuck pig, screaming and running at this log cabin in the middle of nowhere.”

When Dommer went outside to find the crime scene, he found the bear had taken the sleeping bag. However, they immediately determined that Georgoulis, 24, needed to go to the emergency room.

A CT scan resulted negative, in a surprise. He was cleaned and given sixteen staples and then promptly released.

“The bear had carted the empty sleeping bag down the hill,” Dommer says. “I found the sleeping bag maybe 30 yards from the incident site.”

Georgoulis says the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game reached out to him regarding the attack.

Georgoulis and Dommer believe the black bear smelled Georgoulis’ shampoo and took a huge chomp out of his head. However, the bear darted off as soon as he got a taste.