Wyoming Hunter Shoots Himself in the Leg While Fighting Off Attacking Grizzly Bear

by Taylor Cunningham
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A man was attacked by a grizzly bear while hunting for elk near Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. He survived by scaring the bear away with a pistol, but unfortunately, he shot himself in the leg during the fight.

65-year-old Evanston, Wyoming resident Lee Francis was in the Sawtooth Mountains with his son on Friday, Oct. 21 when the animal attacked. It took multiple rounds from his 10mm handgun to make the bear retreat.

“He was trying to fight the bear. He put his leg up in self-defense to kick the bear off of him. And as we was discharging the handgun, one of the bullets struck his leg,” Sergeant Travis Bingham with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office told Field & Stream.

Once the bear left, Francis’ son was able to alert authorities with an SOS device. the son then helped his father onto a horse and steered him to trailhead where a rescue party waited on UTVs.

Sgt. Bingham said that Francis’s son packed the wound with bandages before help arrived, which helped keep him stable. And when rescuers took over, they drove him to a nearby ranch where a helicopter was waiting to transport the victim to the University of Utah Hospital. There has been no update on his condition.

The Attack Was the Second by a Grizzly Bear In Less Than 2 Weeks

Officials were not able to locate the grizzly following the attack because of a snowstorm. But Bingham said that they planned on heading out as soon as the storm cleared.

“I think Game & Fish is trying to talk to the hunter and they’re looking for the bear today,” he shared. “We’re not really sure how substantial the bear part of the attack was. The biggest concern was blood loss from the gunshot wound.”

The incident was the second of its kind in Wyoming in just two weeks, according to The New York Post. On Oct. 15, a grizzly mauled college wrestlers Kendell Cummings and Brady Lowry. The animal severely injured the men, but one of them managed to fight it off and save both of their lives.

The animal attacked Lowery first, and Cummings stayed close, while yelling, kicking, and throwing rocks. The bear turned its attention on Cummings.

“It tackled me, chewed me up a bit, and then when it was done, it wandered off, and I started calling out for Brady to make sure he was alright,” Cummings told KSL-TV. “The bear circled back around, and it got me again, chewed on me, and that’s when it got my head and cheek. And then it went away again for whatever reason.”

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