A 43-year-old hunter was attacked by a black bear after it was wounded by another hunter near dusk Sunday, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and a local official.
Boise County resident Marvin Jennings was taken by air ambulance to a Boise hospital, where he was recovering Monday from his injuries.
En route to the hospital, Jennings told fellow firefighters with the Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department that he wanted two things: a cigarette and the bear.
“That’s the last thing Marvin yelled as he was leaving, ‘I want that [expletive] bear,” Clear Creek Fire Chief Sam Bonovich said.
A call for help from the Clear Creek Estates subdivision came at about 9:30 p.m., according to Boise County Dispatch. The area is west of Idaho 21, northeast of Boise. Bonovich estimates the attack occurred about 11 miles west of the highway.
Jennings was bear hunting with his uncle. The uncle shot and wounded the bear as it fed on bait the hunters had put out.
The men thought the bear was dead, so Jennings went to check on it. The bear roared to life and attacked him, and they rolled down a hill. The bear bit Jennings on the left arm and leg. Jennings used a handgun to shoot the bear in the head, and his uncle shot the bear again, Bonovich said.
“When it was chewing on his side, he didn’t want to shoot, because he was afraid he’d shoot himself," Bonovich said. "It let go and then latched onto one of his arms. He stuck the pistol in its head and started pulling the trigger.
“I don’t know how many wouldn’t panic when they’ve got a bear chewing on them,” Bonovich said.
Bonovich said that once he was free of the bear’s clutches, Jennings asked his uncle to stay with the bear as he jumped on an ATV and went for help. No one was inside the house he stopped at, but he was able to get inside and use a phone and radio to call for help.
The fire chief said he put out the word that Jennings had been mauled by a bear, and in no time had nine firefighters responding to help. East Boise County Ambulance and the Wilderness Ranch Quick Response Unit were also dispatched.
The pilot of the air ambulance did not feel comfortable landing the helicopter on the summit at Clear Creek in the dark, so the crews on the ground met the helicopter at a landing zone about a half mile away near the road.
Bonovich said Jennings had surgery Monday.
“They’re going to pull a vein or artery out of his leg to patch the one in his arm,” he said.
Fish and Game personnel interviewed Jennings and his uncle at the hospital. They also did interviews near the attack site and examined the bear. Examination of the bear’s teeth revealed that he was healthy but old.