Alaska Wildlife Troopers reported a bear attack Friday evening in the Eureka Summit area near Gunsight Mountain.
Two hunters were looking for moose when they happened upon a grizzly sow with two large cubs. The sow attacked one of the hunters, causing serious injuries to his head, torso, and legs, but the second hunter had the presence of mind — and the skill — to drop the grizzly with a kill shot through her chest. Both hunters are described as being in their mid-20s.
Glenn and Samantha Marlin were not far from where the incident occurred and wrote about it on Facebook. Glenn reflected on the lesson of picking a good hunting partner, one that you can trust to not panic.
Here’s a lightly edited version of Glenn Marlin’s account:
HUNTING BUDDY THOUGHTS
I was a part of the first aid and recovery effort for last night’s bear mauling in Eureka.
I’ve been processing all that happened and how the attack went down. Both hunters were 25-28 years old, in fantastic shape and experienced hunters. They did nothing to bring it on themselves. Right place, bad timing.
My thoughts about the guy who saved his buddy: They weren’t walking so close that he could have been attacked too. He had to suddenly process what was going on. Decide fight or flight. Load a round, run up to the ground battle, and correctly place a shot that not only kills her, but does not shoot his buddy.
All the while, she had cubs close by that were nearly her size and she measured 7 feet.
He had to now get himself and injured and barely ambulatory friend back to their wheelers about 1/3 mile away. Get him on his wheeler and bog their way out. Injured hunter has a rollover along the way and he has to right it. He had the smarts to recognize when he had signal and called to his parent’s cabin to arrange immediate help on the trail as they came back.
I met the injured hunter on the trail and he was was operating on pure adrenaline. By the time we get to my cabin and off his wheeler, the pain kicked in. Luckily there was also a nurse and EMT also at their cabin who met up with us. From there we got the helicopter called and we got him to the landing zone at his cabin about 2 miles away.
Today we recovered his rifle and the bear. Big reality check for me and got me thinking about his hunting buddy who saved his life.
What do you expect from those you hunt with? Are those expectations assumed or discussed? Are you that kind of partner?
HUNTER MEDEVACED TO PROVIDENCE
Samantha Larsen Marlin also wrote about the experience on her Facebook page:
“We were able to drive our truck up the ATV trail to load the injured hunter and transport to a cabin that could be accessed by life flight, which happened to be the cabin he was staying at,” she wrote. She said a nurse and medic were able to provide first aid before a helicopter took the hunter to Anchorage.
Glenn Marlin, who is a State Farm agent at Glenn Marlin State Farm in Wasilla, later wrote that the experience was enough for him to buy a life flight insurance policy for his family. “At $125 per year and 3 people covered, it’s a no brainer,” he said.