A Montana man who was mauled by a grizzly bear that tore off his lower jaw is doing well at a Salt Lake City hospital but has a long recovery ahead of him, his family said Monday.
Rudy Noorlander, owner of a snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle rental business in Big Sky, “is expected to be hospitalized for surgeries until October” after last Friday’s attack, his daughter KateLynn Davis said via Facebook.
Noorlander was helping two hunters who rented ATVs from his company as they tried to track down a deer they had shot in southwest Montana, according to Davis.
MONTANA NAVY VETERAN HAD JAW RIPPED OFF IN HORRIFYING GRIZZLY ATTACK, FAMILY SAYS
They spotted a deer that wasn’t the one shot by hunters, and Noorlander spotted a smaller grizzly bear. He was pulling out his gun to try to scare it when a larger bear attacked him, Davis wrote.
Noorlander’s gun misfired and he didn’t have time to get his bear spray out of his backpack. So he tried to hit the animal “in hopes of slowing it down,” according to Davis.
“Unfortunately that was not the case and after the first punch the grizzly bear was on top of Rudy,” Davis wrote on a GoFundMe page. “The grizzly left a large scratch on his right chest, bit his arms, legs and, to top it off, gave him what Rudy describes as the most disgusting French kiss of his life before biting and to tear off his lower jaw.”
One of the two hunters shot the bear and it left the area, said Morgan Jacobsen, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Wildlife.
Members of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team transported Noorlander from the area and a medical helicopter transported him to nearby Bozeman Hospital, the sheriff’s office said. After being stabilized, Noorlander was flown to the University of Utah Hospital for further treatment, Davis said.
GRIZZLY BEAR MAULS MONTANA HUNTER IN CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST
The attack occurred south of Big Sky, a popular resort town about 55 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. Forest Service imposed an emergency closure in the area while authorities searched for the bear.
The grizzly bear had not been found as of Monday and no bears had been located in the area, according to Jacobsen.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The agency is still investigating, but believes the grizzly bear was protecting an animal carcass it had hidden nearby.
“Everything points to it being a defensive game,” Jacobsen said.
The attack occurred a week after a female grizzly bear that fatally attacked a woman near West Yellowstone in July was killed by wildlife authorities after the bear and a cub broke into a house near West Yellowstone. Officials say this bear also mauled and injured a man in Idaho in 2020.