Weston Scott crept through the dense forest looking to flush out an elk. He got excited when he heard rustling about 10 feet ahead, in some bushes.
What Scott saw in those first seconds last Sunday was a bear’s head coming right at him. He drew up his rifle but managed only to get a shot off from about his hip before the 600-pound grizzly was on top of him.
“I think it went right over his head,” Scott said Wednesday from his hospital room in Idaho Falls, Idaho, about 175 miles from Bridger-Teton National Forest, where the attack occurred. “That was all I had time to do. He was on me after that.”
As Scott, 32, fell to the ground, the bear bit him in the face. It took out four teeth on Scott’s lower jaw and a 1-inch portion of jawbone.
Scott later told his wife, Tammy, that he was sure he would die when he saw the bear so close. He told her the bear made no sounds — no grunting or growling.
“It was definitely coming after him to hurt him,” she said. “It was coming at him with his mouth open.”
She said her husband never said anything about pain, possibly because his adrenaline kicked in immediately.
“I can’t imagine the absolute terror he must have experienced,” she said.
Tammy Scott said after the bear bit her husband’s face, it continued to knock him around.
“He’s got surface wounds kind of everywhere” — on his knees, side and back, she said. “Looking at him, you know he got rolled around by a bear.”
The bear swung one last time at Scott, pushing him between two trees, and left. Scott got up and ran out of the woods, about a quarter of a mile.
On his way out, he could see the bear still lurking. Officials said the animal was then killed by a hunting companion acting in self-defense.
Tammy Scott said her husband has had enough.
“I don’t think he will hunt in grizzly bear country again,” she said. “One of the first things out of his mouth was, ’I don’t ever want to feel like that again.”’