Four college students were in for a horrible, near-fatal surprise while out hunting for antlers in Cody, Wyoming late last week.
One of the young men, Kendall Cummings, is being hailed a hero and an incredible friend after jumping on a grizzly bear and taking the brunt of the attack himself in order to save his friend, Brady Lowry.
According to a press release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the two young men were searching for fallen antlers near Bobcat Houlihan trailhead on the Shoshone National Forest when they became in “close contact” with a grizzly bear.
In an interview with ABC 7 News, Lowry recalled that the bear jumped out of the bushes and “tackled” him first. Seeing his friend getting mauled, Cummings acted quickly and jumped on the bear in an attempt to get it off of his friend. But then, the bear turned on Cummings.
According to ABC News, Cummings said, “I grabbed and yanked him hard by the ear. I could hear when his teeth would hit my skull, I could feel when he’d bite down on my bones and they’d kind of crunch.”
Cummings said the bear dragged him to a tree and pinned him there while it attacked. The bear briefly walked away and Cummigns thought he was in the clear, but then the bear returned for a second attack. Eventually, the two friends were able to escape and call 911 while reuniting with their other two friends who were on the trip.
With the assistance of a nearby hunter, a local resident, and their two other friends, Cummings and Lowry were able to reach the trailhead where search and rescue transported them to the hospital. Lowry was treated for a complex arm feature, while Cummings required 60 staples in his head.
In the WGFD press release Dan Smith, Cody Region wildlife supervisor, said that there’s been a reported increase in bear activity in the area and warned people to be vigilant while out.
He said: “In the vicinity where the attack occurred, reports from landowners and hunters indicate there may be six to 10 different bears moving between agricultural fields and low elevation slopes. Game and Fish will continue to monitor bear activity in the area and work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make management decisions in the best interest of public safety. This is a sad and unfortunate situation, we wish both victims a full and speedy recovery.