GLENNALLEN, Alaska — A man was hospitalized after an unscheduled tussle with a suspected brown bear Tuesday morning near Glennallen, Alaska State Troopers confirmed.
“I saw him, and he saw me at the same time,” 61-year-old Allen Minish told The Guardian by phone from his Anchorage hospital bed Wednesday.
The attack left Minish with a crushed jaw and a puncture wound to his scalp deep enough that the doctor said he could see bone, the outlet reported.
Minish was conducting a land survey in a wooded area off Richardson Highway when the bear attacked, troopers stated in a news release.
Heidi Hatcher, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told the Anchorage Daily News that Minish had been walking alone while he worked.
“[Minish] wasn’t making any extra noise or anything like that, he was just walking through the woods, kind of focused on his work, and essentially what happened was they ran into each other, they spooked each other,” Hatcher told the newspaper.
Hatcher said there was no indication that Minish prompted the attack by disrupting a food supply and confirmed that the animal, estimated to be about 4 years old, retreated following the attack.
“There’s no reason to believe that there’s a public safety threat. It was just a bear being a bear,” she added.
Meanwhile, Minish told The Guardian that the bear was larger than the 300-pound black bears he has spotted before and said it took only seconds for the animal to close the gap between them.
“As [the bear] lunged up on top of me, I grabbed his lower jaw to pull him away, but he tossed me aside there, grabbed a quarter of my face,” Minish told the outlet.
“[The bear] took a small bite, and then he took a second bite, and the second bite is the one that broke the bones … and crushed my right cheek basically,” he added.
Cox Media Group