Two Wyoming College Wrestlers Injured While Fighting Off Grizzly Bear

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

One man jumped on the grizzly's back in an attempt to save his friend

Two Wyoming college wrestlers sustained serious injuries during a ferocious grizzly attack in Cody last weekend, and one of them credits the other with saving his life.

The Wyoming Game & Fish Department said in a press release that the bear charged the two men from close range while they were hunting antlers in heavy cover west of Bobcat Houlihan trailhead on the Shoshone National Forest on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Kendall Cummings said when he saw the bear attack his friend Brady Lowry, he jumped on the grizzly’s back to try to get him off.

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"I grabbed and yanked him hard by the ear," Cummings told Cowboy State Daily.

“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 two Northwest College wrestlers managed to escape from the bear and called 911 for help. Both Park County Search and Rescue and personnel from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department responded.

“With the assistance of a hunter in the area, a local resident and other members of their party, the two men were able to reach the trailhead where they met search and rescue and were transported from the area,” said the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

According to ABC News, one man was taken to a local hospital by ambulance and the other was taken to another hospital by helicopter. They both underwent multiple surgeries for major lacerations to their bodies and faces. Lowry also suffered a broken arm.  

“Special thanks to Park County Search and Rescue and the Park County Sheriff's office for their quick response and coordination of the rescue,” Dan Smith, Cody Region wildlife supervisor, told ABC News.

Authorities are investigating the attack, but say it appears to just be a “sudden, surprise encounter with a grizzly bear.”

Officials are urging people to use caution in the area due to an abundance of bear activity.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

Both Lowry and Cummings say they consider themselves lucky to have survived the attack.

“I don’t know what I’m going to pay him back, I don’t. I owe him everything," Lowry told the Cowboy Daily Press regarding Cummings’ actions that likely saved his life. “We'll be best friends for the rest of our lives."

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