Kentucky wildlife officials say it's the only known bear attack in Kentucky in modern times. A man is recovering after a bear attacked him while hiking in the Red River Gorge. The attack happened in Wolfe County. Part of the Gorge remains closed, and search crews are still looking for the animal.
The victim, Tim Scott took photos of the bear just before it attacked him. He spoke to Newsfirst about the frightening ordeal.
Scott has been hiking the Red River Gorge since he was a child, but this was the first time he had ever seen a black bear, so his first thought was to take photos. However when the bear returned, Scott realized he was in trouble. "This bear kept following me. I realized I was probably going to need some sort of a weapon," Scott said.
As he backed away up the trail, Scott dropped his belt pack hoping to distract the bear. When the bear kept coming, Scott found a stick to defend himself. "The bear advanced on me," Scott said, "and I hit him with the stick. He slowed a little bit and then began advancing again."
Scott held the stick between him and the bear all the while walking backwards up the trail. Finally, Scott had to turn his back to climb. That's when the bear grabbed him by his thigh. 'At that point, he was on me. He made a couple of trial bites at the backs of my legs and settled on the back of my right thigh. I was screaming all through this stuff trying to extract him, trying to do anything."
Scott continued to call for help when more hikers arrived. "The bear was on me, teeth sunk deep into the back of my thigh, and he was shaking me the way a dog shakes a toy," Scott said.
Another hiker hit the bear with a backpack while others screamed for help. The bear continued to follow the entire group until he slowly backed away and left. Scott credits the others for saving him, and while he hopes this bear is caught, he insists that bears deserve their place in the forest. After about sixty stitches and some rest, Scott plans to be back hiking the Gorge within 6 weeks.
The Kentucky Department of Parks has announced that Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade, Kentucky, remains open to guests and visitors.