A man is alive after being attacked by a bear outside of his North Carolina home, and can thank his wife for helping him survive.
The attack occurred in the driveway of Sonny Pumphrey’s Waynesville home, according to his Facebook post where he shared his harrowing experience.
Pumphrey was blowing leaves around 4 p.m. Tuesday when he had his encounter with a bear, foxcarolina reported.
Make that bears.
“I was standing in the middle of my driveway and all of a sudden I turned around (there) were three bears right beside me,” Pumphrey posted.
While two of the bears went up a hill, running away from Pumphrey, the third bear headed for him, according to his Facebook post.
The bear, which he believed was the mother of two bear cubs, “charged me,” Pumphrey said.
“Only thing I could do was to punch her right in the nose,” Pumphrey wrote of his attempts to fend off the attack. “Then she tried to bite me, put her head down and I started beating on top of her head. She then bit me on the side or butt, she (knocked) me to the ground.”
His wife, Betty, witnessed the attack from inside the home, according to foxcarolina.com.
“I couldn’t believe it. She was down on all fours coming for him and then she stood up,” Betty recounted, the TV station reported. “And when she stood up and the mouth came open and I saw all those teeth, (I) knew I had to do something and I just bolted through the door, screaming for her to let him go.”
Betty’s attempt to save her husband put a scare into the bear. Sonny wrote “Betty come out screaming and (hollering and) the bear turn and run off.”
After the bear left, Betty wanted to make sure it was scared to come back. She went back in the house and got a pistol which she fired in the air before calling 911, foxcarolina.com reported.
Betty identified the bear that attacked her husband as a black bear, in response to a comment on her Facebook page.
She added Sonny is “very, very lucky.”
In response to a comment on one of his Facebook posts, Sonny agreed with his wife.
“I am lucky, the bear could have eaten me up.”
Although he suffered scratches, bruises and a puncture wound, visible in pictures he shared on Facebook, Sonny is enduring more pain as a result of being attacked by a wild animal.
During his hospital stay Sonny said he had 10 rabies shots. That was his first series of injections, according to Betty’s Facebook post. But she had a positive outlook, saying her husband will “be fine,” and focusing on the fact that Sonny got to go home from the hospital the same night as the attack.
If it’s captured, the bear won’t be as fortunate.
Betty wrote wildlife officers were setting traps for the bear, who she said if is caught will be “put down.” Sonny posted that a “big bear trap,” was set at his home, adding “hopefully they will catch the bear.”
The attack occurred about 30 miles away from Asheville, where bear sightings have become a common occurrence. There have also been other attacks.
In September, a woman walking her dog in Swannanoa came across three bear cubs before a grown female black bear “bit and scratched her repeatedly,” the Charlotte Observer reported. The 75-year-old woman was treated and released from the hospital and the bear was euthanized after it was trapped by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission.