A 66-year-old man has suffered serious injuries after reportedly being attacked by a black bear in northern California yesterday. The man fought the bear and ended up with many lacerations and puncture wounds in his head, legs, arms, hand, feet, and abdomen. Despite his serious injuries, he was able to fight off the bear and drive himself to the nearest hospital.
According to a press release by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the bear attacked the man in the town of Midpines as he was stepping out of his house at 4am on Thursday.
“A large black bear struck the man from behind, knocking the victim to the ground. The man fought the bear, and in the struggle sustained multiple puncture wounds and lacerations to his head, legs, arms, abdomen, hands and feet.
“Although injured, the man was able to get away from the animal and drive himself to the hospital, where he was treated and released later in the day.” – California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Media outlets have identified the man as 66-year-old Larry Yepez, a Vietnam veteran.
“Mr. Yepez is a very tough individual. He is a Vietnam veteran and is used to defending himself in situations. He did an amazing job of survival. It could have turned out a lot worse.” – Frank Milazzo, the game warden for Mariposa County investigating the incident, told the Merced Sun-Star
Mr. Yepez has described the bear as a young cub, 1 to 2 years old, around 200 pounds.
The California Deptarment Fish and Wildlife and the US Wildlife Service are conducing an investigation into the bear attack in Midpines.
Men with tracking dogs are currently searching for the bear. They will kill the bear when they find it.
“Due to the severity of the attack, and the need to collect forensic evidence from the bear, it will be humanely destroyed when found.” – Cal Dept of Fish and Wildlife
It is currently unknown what caused the bear to be on Mr. Yepez’s property. Wildlife officials encourage people to keep food inside.
“Never leave trash outdoors and do not feed pets outdoors. In addition, all rural residents and recreationists should be mindful of nearby wildlife and potential risks of this type. Attacks on humans by wildlife remain uncommon but do occur on occasion. Basic safety and preventative actions greatly reduce the risk of attack.”