TRAIL, Ore. — Two southern Oregon deer hunters who shot a bear got a violent surprise Thursday when the wounded bear roused itself and attacked one of them.
The injured animal grabbed 22-year-old Alex Machavo of Medford in a “bear hug” and the two rolled down a 50-foot embankment with the bear biting Machavo all the way, Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.
A second hunter, identified as Nathan Shinn, 24, of Phoenix, Ore., was eventually able to shoot the bear in the head, killing it, the spokeswoman said.
Shinn left to call 911. A sheriff's officer found Machavo walking down a spur road a short time later and arranged to transport him to a Medford hospital. The man's condition was not immediately available Thursday night but Carlson said his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Shinn was unhurt.
The deer hunters also had a bear tag that allowed them to shoot the bear legally, Carlson said.
Deputies planned to return to the area today and locate the bear “to make sure it's truly dead,” she said.
After the initial shooting, the men reported they carefully tracked the bear for about a mile until it lay down in a meadow. They tried to sneak up on it to make sure it was dead, but when they got close it sprang up and grabbed Machavo, they told officers.
In a statement, the sheriff's office urged hunters to exercise even more caution, saying, “When killing any type of game animal always approach it from the front to determine if it is truly dead. Have your firearm ready, and be ready to kill the animal if it isn't dead yet.”