PHOTOS — ‘I Stood My Ground’: Disabled Veteran Recalls Bloody Grizzly Bear Attack in Wyoming

Roaring grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) in Sequim, Washington (Mark Newman via Getty)
Mark Newman via Getty

A disabled U.S. Army combat veteran was attacked by a grizzly bear on Sunday in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and recalled his bloody fight to survive.

Thirty-five-year-old Shayne Patrick Burke was hiking up Signal Mountain looking to photograph a great grey owl before he and his wife left the area when the bear attacked him, the New York Post reported Saturday.

Burke said in an Instagram post, “I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions.” But he said his encounter with the grizzly bear “was the most violent thing I have ever experienced.”

An image shows the veteran just after the attack:

Before walking into the wilderness by himself, Burke told his wife he would meet up with her in the parking lot in an hour. On his way back to her, the veteran took precautions by making noise to avoid encountering a bear.

The hike to Taggart Lake provides spectacular views of the Teton Range at Grand Teton National Park.
(NPS Photo/J. Bonney from National Park Service)

However, when he saw a brown bear cub running up a hill nearby, he knew it would not be not long before the mother bear appeared.

Appear she did. When she spotted Burke, she charged at him.

“I unholstered my bear spray and saw the mother bear charging. I stood my ground, shouted and attempted to deploy the bear spray but as I did she already closed the gap,” he said, according to Fox News.

When the bear was upon him, Burke turned his back to her, lay face down on the ground, and interlocked his hands over his neck to protect his carotid arteries.

As he lay there, the bear bit him, slashed at his shoulder, stepped on his back, bit his leg, then picked him up and slammed him on the ground repeatedly.

When he screamed, Burke said he thinks she “went in for a kill bite” on his neck. However, the veteran’s hands were still interlocked and he had managed to hold onto the can of bear spray.

When the bear’s jaws clamped down on the can, it exploded and she took off toward her cubs. Burke texted his wife and placed improvised tourniquets on his legs before calling 911. It was difficult for crews in a helicopter to find him and while he waited, Burke recorded a video telling those close to him he loved them, just in case the worst happened.

However, crews eventually located him and he underwent surgery at a local hospital. He is now recovering.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, black bears and grizzly bears have different characteristics. The agency encouraged visitors to know the difference.

Grizzly bears have a prominent shoulder hump, short round ears, a dished facial profile, and long, straight claws that are three to four inches long.

In contrast, black bears lack a shoulder hump, they have tall pointed ears, a straight facial profile, and short, curved claws that are one to two inches long.

Following the attack that officials have since confirmed, Burke urged park rangers not to kill the bear because he knows she was only defending her cub. Park officials have since said the bear will not be put down, according to the Fox report.

“What happened up on Signal Mountain was a case of wrong place wrong time,” Burke said.

In July, a woman was found dead after an apparent grizzly bear encounter near Montana’s Yellowstone National Park, Breitbart News reported.


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