Bear attack leaves man injured but grateful

4:25 AM, Nov 26, 2007   |    comments
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It's a hunter's call: tramping through the woods, looking for the wayward deer. But on Thursday, Jim Zemaitis encountered not a deer, but a bear. Zemaitis was with his hunting group in a Washburn County, Wisconsin marsh when he came across what he thought was a blackened stump. But then the bear attacked. "Pretty soon I saw teeth and then it reared up on its hind legs, charged me and I rolled over into a ball, started screaming," Zemaitis said about the attack. His screams were enough to alert the rest of his hunting group, including his cousin, Rick Zemaitis. "I though Jim might of fallen, broken his arm or something," Rick Zemaitis said. "Came on my cousin, Jim, with a huge black bear on his back." While Rick tried to scare the bear away, Jim did what he could to protect himself against the attacking animal. "Put my hands over my head, pretty soon, I felt the bear on me and then chomp, chomp," Jim said, continuing, "I've been bitten by dogs but it feels more like a clamping instead of a biting." But the biting did eventually end -- leaving Jim with puncture wounds, three stitches and bruising. They're now war wounds from an unlikely battle. "It's one of them quick things that happened in slow motion," Jim said. But this "warrior" plans to return to the woods. "It ain't gonna deter me from hunting at all," he said. The DNR said this was the first bear attack in Washburn County in about six years. Jim said he doesn't blame the bear -- he realizes it was just startled. He said he's spending this holiday weekend giving thanks he's still alive.

By Karla Hult, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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