Veteran survives horrifying mama grizzly bear attack while hiking in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park: ‘She went in for a kill bite on my neck’

A disabled Army combat veteran miraculously survived when a mother grizzly bear protecting her cub mauled him in the Wyoming wilderness, calling the encounter the “most violent” thing he’s ever experienced.

Photo credit:Instagram/n0beefstew4u

Shayne Patrick Burke, 35, suffered serious injuries when he was in the “wrong place at the wrong time” hiking up Signal Mountain in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park Sunday, he wrote on Instagram.

The wildlife photographer said he set out into the wilderness alone, telling his wife he’d meet back up with her in the park’s parking lot in one hour since he hoped to photograph a Great Grey Owl before they left.

He headed back about an hour into his solo journey and said a “really uncomfortable feeling” washed over him.

“I was breaking branches, singing and talking to myself aloud,” Burke recalled. These are some things that can help prevent a ‘surprise encounter’ with a brown bear.”

The Massachusetts native noticed a “brown bear cub running up a hill about 50-70 yards” while he trekked through the thick wooded area of the 310,000-acre park.

“I knew this wasn’t good,” Burke wrote.

All hell broke loose when he saw the mother bear charge directly at him.

The combat veteran unholstered his bear spray and shouted at the bear, but the animal closed the gap and attacked.

“When she pounced I opted to turn and give her my back and I laid down in the prone position on my belly and braced for the ride, interlocking my hands behind my neck to protect my vitals,” Burke explained.

The bear then bit and slashed at his back right shoulder.

“She then turned, stepping on my back. She bit one of my legs, picking me up and slamming me on the ground multiple times,” he wrote. “She bit each leg from my buttocks to my inner knee about three times each.”

He said he “unfortunately” screamed again, drawing her attention to his head.

“I believe she went in for a kill bite on my neck. I still had my hands interlocked and my arms protecting my carotid arteries,” Burke said.

However, Burke never let go of the can of bear spray, which he credits for saving his life.

“As she bit my hands in the back of my neck, she simultaneously bit the bear spray can, and it exploded in her mouth,” the wildlife enthusiast writes

He then called 911, staying on the phone with the operator so the rescue helicopter could zone in on his location.

“I laid alone in the woods gripping my knife with my back to a tree just hoping the bear wasn’t to return,” as he waited for help. “At this point, my legs were not really working.”

Though he slowed the bleeding, the helicopter had difficulty finding his exact location.

“In this moment, I accepted on that small hilltop that I very well could die. I recorded a short video telling my people that I loved them,” he wrote.

He was later found and transported to St. John’s Hospital in Jackson, Wy., where he underwent surgery.

Burke is expected to make a full recovery but explained it was “the most violent thing I have ever experienced,” noting that he has experienced being “shot at, mortared and IED explosions” while in the Army.

As for the mother bear, Burke holds no animosity toward the wild animal.

“I love and respect wildlife,” he wrote. “In fact, the second thing I said to the park rangers was please don’t kill the bear, she was defending her cub.”

Park officials have confirmed the attack and said the bear won’t be captured or killed.

Several such attacks occur each year as the region’s grizzly population has grown.

Park officials urge people to give bears plenty of space, carry bear spray, and avoid leaving out food that might attract bears.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *