Photo courtesy of CBS 47
Just days after a grizzly bear was euthanized for partially eating a Yellowstone hiker, residents of Mariposa County, California, are being told to be on their guard. A bear is on the loose, but it may not be looking for more trouble—it just got done fighting a Marine.
Larry Yepez, 66, is a former Marine and a Vietnam veteran, having earned a Purple Heart for injuries in the war.
“I got shot through this wrist, and I got hit here in the foot, and I got some shrapnel metal here in the back,” Yepez told CBS 47.
Those experiences likely saved his life from a bear attack August 13.
Yepez stepped out of his house at 4 a.m. and came face to face with a bear. The bruin was standing ten yards from Yepez and weighed an estimated 250 pounds.
“I saw him, and I yelled, ‘Hey get out of here.’ And he continued to come towards me,” Yepez said.
That’s when the bear attacked.
“I could feel his strength. I felt like a little rag doll underneath him,” Yepez said. “I could hear the crunching like ‘crr’—like that when he bit down on it. See, and that’s why I was trying to hit him again to try and get him off me.
“He had his mouth here, and that’s when he ripped here, and he got me here on the neck too,” Yepez said, pointing to various wounds. “He ripped towards my neck and then again the belly.”
Yepez used both legs to push the bear away from him. His Yorkshire terrier, Benji, distracted the bear and allowed Yepez to escape. He then drove himself to the hospital, arriving covered in blood.
He credits the mentality instilled in him by the Corps for his survival.
“They tell you to remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary,” Yepez said of the Marines. “‘Don’t you ever say that word again—can’t.’ And then they say—’Take the pain.'”
If found, officials say this bear will also be euthanized.
Video by CNN via YouTube