MISSOULA, Mont. -- Bob Legasa and his friend Gibson have been hunting together in the Livingston area for ten years.
Lagasa is from Coeur d’Alene but enjoys bow hunting for elk in Montana. He says he is always very bear conscious. In fact, he and Gibson created a bear safety video just a few weeks ago.
“We’re aware of bears in this area as far as grizzly bears, so we were very conscientious and cautious moving through the area,” said Legasa.
As they moved downhill and across a flat area of sage brush to get a better aim at the elk, they approached a grizzly bear and her cub.
“We took three steps and then heard a growl and could see two bears right in front of us probably about 12 yards away,” said Legasa. “We yelled to scare them.”
The cub is the one that growled. When Legasa and Gibson yelled at them, the cub rolled away. But the mother bear charged straight towards Legasa. He says he did not have time to grab his bear spray or his pistol and he didn’t want to take his eyes off of the charging bear. It all happened in a matter of seconds.
“She had my arm in her mouth and she got my face with her claws, pretty close to my eye. Then Greg was able to discharge his bear spray because he was literally three to four feet behind me,” said Legasa.
Once Gibson discharged his bear spray again, the bear turned and ran in the opposite direction.
“It seemed like an eternity,” said Legasa. Although in reality he says it took them about five to ten minutes to get themselves together and walk back uphill to safety.
Legasa went to the hospital in Livingston before being transferred to the Bozeman hospital. His arm is broken in two places, he has a large gash in the flesh of his arm, and the cut near his eye required stitches.
He’ll remain in Bozeman for at least another day before he can return home to Idaho.
“I doubt this will stop me from hunting in the future but I'll tell you this: I will be even more cautious of places that I go,” said Legasa.