BIG SKY, Mt. (WJW) — A man is in critical but stable condition after being attacked by a grizzly bear outside Yellowstone National Park in Montana last week, his family confirmed.
Rudy Noorlander, a Navy veteran who owns an outdoor adventure business, was reportedly leading a group of hunters trying to find a deer they had shot on the Yellow Mule Trail when they encountered two bears, said Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue.
The man was attacked by one of the animals and was seriously injured – including having his jaw torn off – after being unable to shoot it.
Noorlander was rescued from the area and is recovering in a Utah hospital after an initial surgery in Montana, according to his family.
“My father is the bravest and strongest man I know,” his daughter KateLynn Davis wrote in a GoFundMe fundraiser set up for Noorlander.
Davis said the other hunters were eventually able to scare the animals away.
“Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind hunters that it is crucial to have an emergency plan and be able to call for help in the backcountry,” said Search Sheriff and Gallatin County Rescue in a statement.
Just days before the attack, Montana wildlife officials euthanized a grizzly bear that broke through the window of a home and grabbed a container of dog food with its cub in tow.
Due to her food-conditioned behavior and her “immediate threat to public safety,” authorities chose to euthanize the 10-year-old bear. They later determined that the same bear was involved in a fatal attack on a woman near West Yellowstone in July, as well as a 2020 incident that injured a person in Idaho. Both incidents were considered defensive responses by the bear, and attempts to capture the grizzly bear were unsuccessful.
Her calf is now at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena and will later be transferred to a zoo.
If you encounter a bear, the National Park Service recommends appearing bigger. You shouldn’t run, as this could make you look even more like prey. If you are attacked by a grizzly bear (or brown bear), the NPS says you should play dead, lying flat on your stomach with your hands behind your neck and your legs spread apart.
The agency says to stay in this position until the bear leaves the area.
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