A Wyoming hunter is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a bear in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday, according to The Washington Post.
Timothy Hix was hunting elk–which is legal in the Grand Tetons–near the Snake River when he was charged and mauled. Unable to react in time and use his bear spray to deter the animal, Hix reportedly dropped quickly to the ground, covered his head, and played dead–all tactics that experts advise when being attacked by a grizzly bear.
“Sounds like he was doing everything right. We want to commend [Hix] for doing the homework ahead of time,” said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokesperson for Grand Teton National Park.
The bear reportedly bit Hix twice before fleeing on its own. Hix was taken to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming, where he was listed in good condition.
Park authorities closed a portion of the park near where the attack took place, and are currently searching for the bear. They believe the bear was surprised and startled by Hix, which resulted in the aggressiveness. The bear is not believed to have had cubs nearby, and Hix had not taken an elk.
Nearby Yellowstone National Park has also seen a couple of bear attacks this year, including a female hiker who was mauled in July.