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Bear attack survivor recounts grizzly bear attack

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Jun 03 2014 04:52:09 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2014 06:55:34 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

Fish, Wildlife and Parks confirms it was a 10-year-old male grizzly bear that attacked a hunter near Centennial Valley on Sunday. It happened in Beaverhead County in the Fish Creek Lake area.

Investigators found the grizzly bear nearby, dead from a gunshot.

Wildlife officials say the male grizzly was not a problem bear.

The attack happened while a father and son from Stevensville were black bear hunting. The father heard a gun shot and found his 47-year-old son had been mauled.

Emergency crews took the son first to Dillon then to Seattle because of his serious injuries. Right now, we don't know the condition of the victim but we do know how deadly a bear attack can be.

NBC Montana spoke with a bear attack survivor, a man with his own unique story.

Mark Matheny showed us what to do if a bear is charging at you.

"That's really the important way to use bear spray is to have it where you can instantly spray it," he said.

Matheny founded UDAP Industries; the idea for the business came to him after a backcountry trip he'll never forget.

"I caught movement to the left," he explained.

Matheny said it was a mother bear and her cubs. He says he looked to his friend who had pepper spray.

"He didn't even have time to get it out, he jumped off the trail, jumped behind a tree and I jumped behind a log because here she was," he said.

Matheny said the bear charged them from about 35 yards.

"Here she is about 8 feet from me, 10 feet, and I yelled at her get out of here," he said. "And she wacked the bow out of my hand and lunged ay my face and that's where she bit me, shook me like a rag doll."

Matheny said you don't realize how fast a bear will attack until it's happening to you.

"They just have a tremendous amount of power and strength you're no match for a bear," said Matheny.

He said he'll never forget his experience, and hopes to keep others from falling into a similar situation.