• Haywood County man punches mother bear in nose during attack

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    HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. - A Haywood County man said he punched a bear in the nose after it attacked him outside his home.

    According to Sonny Pumphrey, he was in his driveway in the White Oak community Tuesday afternoon when a mother bear and her two cubs appeared. The cubs ran away, but the mother bear charged at him.

    [RELATED: Mother bear killed following attack on woman; cubs relocated]

    “She made a charging dead run at me. That sucker was eyeball to eyeball to me,” he said.

    Pumphrey said after he punched the bear in the nose, she dropped down and bit his hip.

    “She kind of shook me a little bit, and I'm still ... I'm hitting her steady on the top of the head just as hard as I could swing, man, for dear life,” he said. “I just continue pounding and pounding and pounding and she’s continuing trying to bite me. And like I said ... she got a hold of me and then shook me a little bit, then she let go and she took a swat at me. And when she took a swat at me she knocked me about 8 feet over on the concrete.”

    Courtesy: WLOS
    Courtesy: WLOS

    Sonny's wife Betty heard the commotion and rushed outside to help him with their dog by her side.

    “I saw her stand up and rear her paw back and all I seen (sic) was a mouthful of teeth,” she said. “And I just knew he was going to be gone.”

    Betty scared the bear off and called 911.

    Pumphrey is expected to be OK, but he must receive a series of rabies shots.

    Although he sustained multiple scrapes and bruises from the attack, the Pumphrey's are grateful he's still alive.

    “We have a lot to be thankful for because we were both very, very lucky,” Betty said.

    [RELATED: Fire ants attack, nearly kill North Carolina woman]

    “I could have been dead. I could have been really cut up bad,” Sonny added.

    Wildlife officers were unable to locate the bear.

    They said with food shortages in higher elevations, the bears come down to find food. 

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