Wyoming Hunter Accidentally Shoots Himself During Grizzly Attack

Wyoming Hunter Accidentally Shoots Himself During Grizzly Attack

Lee Francis of Evanston, Wyoming, is currently recovering at the University of Utah Health Hospital after a run-in with a grizzly bear on Oct. 21 left him with a bullet hole in the leg.

The 65-year-old was elk hunting in the Rock Creek area in the Gros Ventre Mountains with his son when the bruin charged him from only 10 feet away.

"I pulled the pistol, and then the bear just came flying out at me," Francis told KSL News.

"I put my foot up to stop his head from grabbing me, I just defensively shot my leg."

Francis managed to fire several rounds from his 10mm, and the bullets hit (or at least successfully scared off) the bear. "I've been around these big bears, but it's a whole different deal when they're coming after you," he said.

Francis’ son now had to ensure his safety. According to Pinedale Online, around 6 p.m., he used a satellite phone to contact the Sublette County Sheriff’s Department, who sent Tip Top Search and Rescue volunteers to Francis’ aid. The son applied primary first aid to stop the bleeding, but being in such a remote location, they had to relocate to a place where a life flight could land.

"He got me on top of the mule, and we worked our way out," Francis said. The duo rendezvoused near Water Dog Lake with rescue volunteers in UTVs. Once they reached the Flying A Ranch, rescue volunteers extracted Francis via life flight helicopter.

The Game and Fish has not been able to locate the grizzly in question yet. Bears are currently in a hyperphagic state, preparing for hibernation—this is the second grizzly attack in Western Wyoming in the last month.

As for Francis, he’s in stable condition, recovering well, and still plans to hunt in the future—even though "I'll probably have a nightmare or two next time I'm out in the mountains," he concluded.

Feature image via Sublette County Sheriff’s Department.

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