Two college wrestlers were mauled by a grizzly bear while they were out hunting near Cody, Wyoming, the state Game and Fish Department said.
Kendell Cummings and Brady Lowry, who are sophomores at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, were antler hunting west of the Bobcat Houlihan Trail on Saturday afternoon, the wildlife department said in a statement Monday.
Lowry of Cedar City, Utah, suffered a broken arm and puncture wounds in the initial attack after they surprised the bear while searching for antlers shed by elk and deer in the Shoshone National Forest.
His teammate — Cummings of Evanston, Wyoming — tried to stop the attack on Lowry by yelling, kicking and hitting the bear and pulling on its fur.
Both ended up at Billings Clinic Hospital, where Cummings underwent surgery. Neither man was listed as a patient there on Tuesday, hospital spokesperson Zach Benoit said.
“I could hear when his teeth would hit my skull, I could feel when he’d bite down on my bones and they’d kind of crunch,” Cummings continued.
The two young men were with two other wrestlers, but separated at the time of the attack.
Cummings and Lowry were able to call 911 after the attack and, with assistance from their teammates, get to the trailhead, where they met Park County Search and Rescue officials. One of the men was airlifted for medical attention, and the other was taken by an ambulance.
“Special thanks to Park County Search and Rescue and the Park County Sheriff’s office for their quick response and coordination of the rescue,” said Dan Smith, Cody Region wildlife supervisor.
Game and Fish is in the process of gathering further details; the investigation into the incident is ongoing. Based on the initial information, this appears to be a sudden, surprise encounter with a grizzly bear.
“In the vicinity where the attack occurred, reports from landowners and hunters indicate there may be six to 10 different bears moving between agricultural fields and low elevation slopes,” Smith said. “Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make management decisions in the best interest of public safety.”
“This is a sad and unfortunate situation, we wish both victims a full and speedy recovery,” Smith said.
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