Hand to Hand with a 400 Pound Bear

Show Notes

Can you survive a bear attack? Bridger Petrini of Tri State Outfitters found himself in the fight of his life when his hounds bayed a 400 pound cinnamon phase Black Bear. The bear turned on him and he battled the bear with all his might. 

This episode of the Houndsman XP Podcast features Bridger and his amazing story from beginning to end of this life threatening encounter with a bear that was bent on killing him.

There are so many layers to this one and Bridger does an outstanding job of telling the best story, HXP Creator, Chris Powell has ever heard and captured on recording. 

Bridger covers all the details:

  • The will to survive by man and beast
  • The awesome power of the bear
  • The warrior mindset
  • The rescue
  • Post attack medical care
  • Dealing with the aftermath

Listeners will be enthralled and on the edge of their seats to the very end.



Show Transcript

[00:00:00] This is the Hounds Man XP podcast

dog. Get that, get that burn here.

The original podcast for the complete Hounds man. Let get your.

The podcast that represent our lifestyle of extreme [00:01:00] performance. Yes.

Yeah. Good boy, boy. Uniting Hounds across the globe from east to west, north to south. You know, if you're gonna catch a cat or a lion, you know, you have to have teamwork. We take you to the wildest places on earth. Yeah. So how many days, how many days a week can you spend up? As much as I can, to be honest with you.

Any time that I get, I'm, I'm out there. Join us for every heart pounding adventure on Hounds xp. I'll tell you, like I tell everyone else, I'm gonna hunt whether you're here or not, so you might as well be here.

Welcome to the Homan XP podcast. I am your host, Chris Powell, and [00:02:00] this particular episode is unlike anything I've ever heard, let alone recorded the terms epic and awesome. They get thrown around and they get used all the time. They're overused. But this story from Bridger Petrini will have you on the edge of your seat, I promise you.

Bridger Petrini is a, a longtime hounds man, and the owner and operator of Tri-State Outfitters out of Northern New Mexico, and I got the opportunity to meet Bridger at one of the ranches that he outfits on, and we recorded this story. And the reason it is so awesome is that it, it takes in so many aspects of what we do as hounds men, but it takes it as notch up.

I mean, this is a story about survival. [00:03:00] It's a story about mental toughness. It's about being prepared for a situation that we all know can happen as hounds men. It's a story about being attacked by a 400 pound bear that nearly cost bridger his life and he still overcomes some disabilities, some, some physical barriers.

From this event, Bridger Petrini was introduced to me by Josh Whitaker of Whitaker Brothers Hunting and Anthony Pace of freedom. Hunters, Bridger, also outfits, freedom hunters with some Mel counts. Every year I was hanging on the edge of my seat an hour and five minutes into this thing, an hour and 15 minutes in, and Bridger does an awesome job of telling this story.

He's not ashamed of what happens. He talks about. Things that he should have done and could have [00:04:00] done differently. What led up to this event is something that if you've hunted, bear with hounds, we've all been here, we've all at times taken for granted what could happen. And Bridger lays it all out for us.

I don't want to drag out this pre-roll because this story is too good not to dive right into. So let's get the tailgate down. This is a box shaker for sure. And it's time to dump the box. Bridger. How, how long have you been, have you, are you a native to Northern New Mexico? I am not. Um, I was raised in, excuse me, I was raised in Northwestern, Colorado.

Okay. Just south of Steamboat Springs. In the Yampa Valley. Yeah. How'd you end up down here? Um, My dad, uh, the guy that owns this ranch here that we're on the to my dad, uh, was leasing a ranch forever [00:05:00] in Colorado. And that ranch was bought by this guy here. Okay. And that's how we got into bed with him, so to speak.

And so he bought that ranch in Colorado and was gonna get rid of my dad. But the previous owner loved my dad and he begged him on my dad's behalf to continue the lease with him, you know, because it was a huge deal for my dad financially that at the time was the biggest ranch. It was about 22,000 acres.

That was by far and away the biggest ranch we had, cuz where we, where we come from private land, there just wasn't, there's a few of them, but not, not like down here, the big ranches. Mm-hmm. And, um, anyways, he, he, he convinced him to try my dad for one year. So he, he met with him. He said he'd give him one year and he'd try it and see how it worked out.

So we went through the, the first year and that would've been about, um, I guess it'd been 98. 98 or 99. And he, he did a trial run with him. He ended up really liking my dad. And, uh, they, they moved on to like a three year deal. And when they were working that deal [00:06:00] there, he told him, he said, I, I just bought the to in New Mexico.

He said, I, I don't wanna deal with a bunch of different outfitters. Do you want it too? And my dad about fell out of his chair, you know, and, uh, of course he did. He wanted it. And, uh, I guess that had to have been 99 when they reworked the deal anyways. Yeah, I think the first year was 98 and, uh, you know, dad, yes.

You know, he, he'd do it. And so he got the lease on this and, and he, and, and, um, he sent me down here in the spring of 2000 to learn the ranch. And, you know, I had, it's huge obviously, and it's actually grown a pile since then. Mm-hmm. To, to get around it and learn it and things like that. And I posted signs and did some different things and so that's what got me here.

Initially, and the ranch manager at the time was showing me around and showing me country and stuff like that. And he's now my father-in-law. So, so he'd, uh, he'd uh, made the mistake of introducing me to his daughter that summer. My wife Janelle, [00:07:00] who's, uh, she, she was at school in Canyon, Texas there. And um, she come home that summer and we started dating and we were engaged in six months and married in another six months.

No kidding. Married a year later. And I've never left. Yeah, we've moved once. We lived here at headquarters one, uh, initially right in that second house at Little, it's called the Cook House. Right. And then, uh, we moved down to the box camp where we're at right now. So you're really, how long have you been on the to now?

So 23 years. Yeah, 23 years. Yeah. Yeah. 23 years. 98,000 acres. Is that how much it is? No, it's about 225,000 acres. Are you kidding me? I'm not. No. The original piece was a hundred thousand. Like a hundred, 1000. Well, it had shrunk over the years. Uhhuh. And then when this guy bought it, he, uh, he tried to piece a lot of it back on the historical stuff, and some of, it's not like where we live now.

That was an add-on it, it historically was the to, and so now it, it, it, and then he bought a place over here north of Des Moines too that we a that we count on that. It's called the to [00:08:00] East. Nice. And so in total, it's about 225,000 acres that'll keep you busy. Right, right. And now we lease, I think, I can't even remember.

It's on our website, but it's, we lease like 900,000 acres. So what's the name of your, what's the name of your outfitting business? It's Tri-State Outfitters. Tri-State Outfitters. Yeah. We're only two states now. We actually are kind of, we've really just partnered on a deal in Florida. So we're, um, we're back to three states again, but we've been only two states, but it's been tri-state forever, so we didn't see any sense in changing the name.

Sure. But, uh, yeah, we've. We've, uh, it's, it's come a long ways. I bought my dad out in 2010, and so that's, uh, so what states does it include? Colorado, Colorado, New Mexico, New Mexico, and now Florida Guess. And now Florida. Yeah. What was the try before? Was there? It it varied when mom and dad, uh, they had a different name initially and when they started out fitting.

Mm-hmm. And, um, they, they, he was just kind of doing it as a side deal to ranching. Gotcha. And we were ranching with my granddad up in Northern Colorado. [00:09:00] And, uh, they, they had a different name initially, and then they, but, but to answer your question, I believe, uh, I get asked this a lot. I think it was Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.

Yeah. That was the three states there. That makes sense. Tri-states, but then that varied over the years. It was Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. And then at one time we were in five states, in two countries. We were in Mexico. So we used to joke about that. But yeah. Um, we, we've got so much land now, least that we didn't, you know, I'm not.

Oh, I've always, I'll lease good country that's close around or whatever. Mm-hmm. But I'm always looking for country, but I don't want to go states away. You know? It would take a big deal to do that. Sure. Well, you've been, you've been in the outfitting business your whole life then. I have, we've, we've always, we ranched and we still ranch now and, and, uh, we do other things.

We build fence in the summertime. We've got some heavy equipment. We do mulching, like fire mitigation stuff. Yeah. We got skid steer size up to excavator with drum mulcher and mm-hmm. And then we build fence. Yeah. That's [00:10:00] cool. Yeah. Whatever, you know, we just like to work and Yeah. There's no point in sitting around.

So we, uh, we do that. We mess with real estate a little bit and just anything we can do seems to be a theme for, you know, cowboys and ranchers out here. Mm-hmm. You just can't get 'em to sit still. They're always, there's always something to do. Yeah. There's, I'm only so much time a day and a guy only gets so many days, so I'll tell you what, man, this country is crazy.

Um, it's different than any place I've ever, you know, turned dogs, dogs loose in mm-hmm. Um, we were on the Navajo a couple years ago and um, that was cool. Mm-hmm. But this mesa country blows my mind. I started doing research on, you know, why mesa's are flat on top and it's got to do with, you know, lava composites are harder right.

Than, than sedentary rock. And, and so it was all volcan volcano country. Right, right. It is. And the dogs know it. I, I thought I had my dog's feet ready. Come. They give you, it's impossible. I can't. Yeah, you can't. I mean, you just gotta rotate 'em. That's the thing. If you're hunting hard Yeah. You can't hunt 'em day after day [00:11:00] here.

Right. You can't. This is hard country. It is. We don't get a lot of snow here, you know, for lion hunting, you know, so it's, it's it, uh, but it's tough, you know, big rims and they're not giant, but they're big enough that critters get away in 'em. And, uh, yeah. I mean, I'm looking out the window, the lodge here at the to, and just this, this rock face going up on top of this mea right here, you know, Barry skirt up through there.

Yeah. Or a lion or whatever. I mean, it's, it's gonna take some time for even a good dog to figure out Absolutely. Which direction they went. Yep. And then your weather is the craziest thing. Like the other morning we were trailing, um, we were trailing a lion and the dew was on, you know, just good trailing good.

Trailing good trailing sun comes out and boom, patios. It's over. It's over. Yep. You know, or vice versa. You're traveling in the evening, the Doux falls, it's over and Yeah. Yeah. It's wild. We get a lot of wind, which is not a lot of fun. Yeah. Different times of the year. So, I mean, new [00:12:00] Mexico's not unique to, to dow and, and stuff like that, but it's so dry.

Right. It's a massive change. I'm telling you man, when I got here, when I got here, um, last Wednesday, a week ago, you know, about 10 days ago, it just came off of big rain and it was lush green. And until we got that rain the other day and the, just the like six days I watched the grass turn, it was drying out.

Yeah. It was brown. This country uses it quick. Quick. Yeah. That moisture. Yeah. It's strong. It's when, when you grow grass, it's amazingly strong. Yeah. Yeah. I bet the roots are deep. Deep. Yeah. Yeah. And it's just great feed. You know, you put 300 pounds on a yearling here in a season, you know? Yeah. It's pretty wild.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I. How long you been in Hounds? You've done that, your whole I haven't done it my whole life. Um, my dad didn't have hounds. He was a hunter, you know, for sure. Sure. But he never had hounds. Um, and, uh, they'd moved to Delta, Colorado, um, in the, I guess later [00:13:00] nineties. And, um, I had already left the nest and, um, I had been in South Texas.

My sister lived down there, and I'd go down there and spend time with them. Mm-hmm. Just mess around day work and we rodeoed and stuff like that. And I come home one summer and, um, they had built an arena w and uh, a roping arena. And, uh, they had a guy move in pretty close that also roped. And somehow they got introduced and they started roping with my parents.

It was John and Debbie Kane. Mm-hmm. And John Kane is a great, great hunter. Really, really great hunter. He come from Patagonia down there in southern Arizona. Yeah. And, uh, I met John Roping and got to visiting with him. He was a government hunter, and uh, he did, uh, All hounds basically. And he took care of all the, all the sheep herds and stuff there on the west slope, which is lot, you know, I don't know how many, probably millions of sheep.

And uh, sure they get all that depredation stuff. And he started telling me, and I thought, man, that sound really neat. I'd, I'd run bobcats and hogs when I was little bitty in Texas. We lived down there for a little while growing [00:14:00] up. Dad had a job down there and, uh, I liked it then I remembered really liking it, but I, I hadn't really been around it since then.

I maybe coon hunted a time or two, but I always thought it was really neat. But anyways, John asked me if I'd go with him. Uh, and I, I, of course, I said yes. And he, it was like one evening we were sitting there and our horses were open and just standing there talking and he said that they, he just got a call and there's a bear got into some sheep and, uh, they were having trouble.

So I, I got up and we went up on the, I guess it's the uncrate plateau up there onto a big sheep or this bear. I think it was more than one bear if I remember right. But the one they'd killed a dozen yus one night and they just eat their bags. Just smashed them. Yeah. Smashed 'em. They eat their bags. Yeah.

Cuz they're lactating. They love that. It's like coming to 'em. Yeah. And, uh, Anyways, we, uh, got up there and I see it all the time now. And you do too. You know, we see tracks that people, normal people don't see. Right. And it's not the word gifted, it's just, it's developing an eye for it, you know, on a hard surface where just see light smudges.

Mm-hmm. John's saying, there's this bear track going out [00:15:00] through there thinking he's crazy. I ain't a track there. You know, he lets the dogs out and they rip outta there. I still don't believe nothing's gonna happen. They roared off in this big canyon and you know, they start barking real heavily and I don't understand any of this at the time, you know, and he says they've got it caught.

And I'm like, what do you mean they got, he said, I sent a tree. You know? And so we go down there and we get there and there's this bear sitting on a limb and I just, it was just absolutely love it. First sight. I couldn't get over it. And so we killed that bear and I went with him some more. And um, he kind of helped me get lined up on some dogs and they were all junk, of course, you know, junk for years.

And, and, but anyways, that's the way it went. That would've been, um, That've been in like, uh, 99 or 2000. Yeah. So I've, mm-hmm. I guess I've been hunting for 23, 24 years, something like that. Yeah. But I, I dunno if you called it hunting back then, but it was deer chasing. Well go through it. Yeah. You know, when you first start out, you just, you just want to have a dog in the hunt and Right.

And it's the greatest dog you ever saw. Yeah. Even if, when it's not Yeah. Because you don't have anything to gauge it off of. Right. You have no [00:16:00] idea what they are and you end up messing it up. It probably was a great dog before I got my hands on it. That's right. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. It's funny, you know, it's, it's so interesting.

You go around and you talk to guys that have been in Hounds for a long time and everybody has, uh, similar stories. You know, how they got involved and Mime was through an uncle, and we've told that story on this podcast a few times. But, uh, same thing. It was just, but I don't think that I, there's something inside of.

Us that tri, that those hounds trigger. Cuz I'm, I'm the oldest of six and I'm the only one in my family that's ever been a hounds man. Right. It's not for everybody. No. It's either in you or it isn't like this. I wonder what the, what, what do you think it is? I don't know. I, I don't know, but I'm like, you, it was like the first time I saw it, I was just madly in love with it immediately.

It was just the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Yeah. Yeah. I, I, if I wish I could figure out what that is, you know why [00:17:00] like one of my brothers chose to do this and I chose to do hounds, you know, there's something there. Right. It's gotta be something mentally right for me, you know, the, the whole hound thing is just the idea of, you know, bringing the, at this point, you know, I've bred.

A line of hounds and, and messed around and that, and I don't consider myself a breeder. Mm-hmm. I can't even say I've bred a line of hounds. I've made some crosses on some hounds that have turned out really nice Right. From the work of other people's good breeding. Right. And yeah, they all came from somewhere.

Yeah. Everybody says, that's my line. Well, they came from somewhere. You might have, you know, when you start crossing, I guess you could say that was your intention. Yeah. Yeah. But I'm not a breeder. I just, I just, but you do that and, but backing up to that early days, you know, it was just like, I've got a dog.

I'm, I'm taking it hunting. Remember the first time that your dog's actually caught game for you? Do you remember that? [00:18:00] I did. Vividly. Yeah. Vividly. Yeah. The first bear, the first lion. Yeah. How'd it make you feel? Oh, it was unreal. Yeah. Because it took a long time. It was really, really, really difficult. A long road, a hoe, you know?

Yeah. And I think you're trying to hunt lion here and it doesn't ever snow. And I don't really get that because I think that there's gotta be snow, you know? And then I, but then obviously we know, you know, I, I, I knew it was possible Sure. To, to do it without snow. Yeah. And, uh, and so, but it's obviously lots tougher.

I don't care who you are. It's way tougher. Um, And so yeah, it was, it was unbelievable. It was a long, it took me two years, I guess, to catch a lion years. There's a lot of different challenges, you know, when you come to the southwest, the lion hunt. Mm-hmm. Um, but every place, every place has its challenges. I, Casey Stutzman, I was with him and Montana and we had good, we had snow, but it was melty.

Mushy. Mm-hmm. That's worse. Wood line tracks, we couldn't trail in that air. That's worse than not having any snow. Yeah. And then it, and then it just cuts the dog's feet. Yeah. Ice crystals just wore the feet [00:19:00] off of dogs. Yeah. You know, a lot of the same issues that we have, that you have here just in a different, different climate, you know, it's, it's a, it's all cli Yeah.

Climate based. I'm not gonna lie though. I mean, you can take a, I've taken Indiana coon dogs and that good fluffy powdery snow that, that is gonna hold some scent and caught some lions and they weren't lion dogs. Wow. Yeah. You know, but, but it was just a freak thing. I brought counterfeits out here and trashed on a bear the other day and they caught an easy bear, so.

Yeah. Right, right. Um, But it, j and i, for me, bridger, it's like, I hope I never figure it all out. That's the cool part, right? Yeah. You're always learning every time you go. Maybe not every time, but you're always, there's always something that'll blow your mind. There's something to analyze. It's like, okay, why did, why are we trailing so good?

And then all of a sudden it shut off. Right. You know, why were we doing this and the dogs did this? Mm-hmm. How can they not? Maybe you see the bear or the lion come out Right. And cross a [00:20:00] face. Right. And then you see your dogs come across there and it's like, how can they not know where that he just went through there?

Mm-hmm. You know, and trying to process everything and learn and, yeah. Yeah. That whole running across the road deal, I, oh, yeah. Guys will argue this with me, but I, Dan Braman is another guy. I don't know if you've heard of Dan. Oh, yeah. He's been on the podcast. Dan has, yeah. Mm-hmm. Really? Dan's hunted straight with a, he's never missed a year since 1998.

Yeah, we've grown up together basically. Yeah. He's, he's about, uh, eight years, eight or nine years older than me. That's, that's cool that you met Dan. That's really cool. So Dan was a solid, he was my biggest mentor really. He is a dog man through and through. Right. Period. And he hunts bobcats primarily. Yep.

That's, that is what he does now, you know, and he's got bird dog. He's just, they love dogs, the whole family. Mm-hmm. The brothers all hunting, his son hunts and, um, You know, uh, Dan, I remember Bobcat hunting in South Texas. I lived with him for a year down there and, uh, before I was married. And he would, uh, we'd see a cat run across the [00:21:00] road.

They got lots and lots of bobcats, and we'd see a cat run. It's a golden triangle for deer and bobcats. It is. It's Bobcat hogs. You know, coons, my gosh, I caught a million coons down there. Isn't that crazy, dude? Yeah. That's crazy catch. He'd, he'd let me go hunt Koons, you know, and but Bobcat, the Bobcat run across the road and I'd be freaking out, you know, turn the stinking dogs loose.

What are you doing? He said, we can't catch him. You know, what do you mean you can't catch him? I've seen it with my own two eyes. And like I say, people argue, and I think there's remedies to that, that we're gonna get off on a whole side topic here. You may wanna stop me, but it, it, um, that always blew my mind.

A bear. They'd run him, they'd run him hard, but I'd never get him caught. I've seen it happen, actually. We have caught some. Um, but it's, you know, that the bobcat, you know, you let him out and they won't even bark, you know? Mm-hmm. They have no idea he was even there. And I've not seen a lion personally run across the road.

You know, like to have hounds right there and stuff. But, um, I've had people seen them, you know, and, and, and you get right there and they won't trail it if you wait. I'm convinced that that's the whole deal. You gotta give it 30 minutes or an [00:22:00] hour. Yeah. And then they're catchable. Um, you hit it. Yeah. Okay.

So here's a, here's a similar story. When I was a kid, you know, 15 years old riding in Kenny Burton's 1986 Ford Truck down the road, you know, I got a pup in the back. Okay. And a coon crosses the road. And I'm like, stop the truck. Stop. I'm gonna turn, I'm gonna turn my pup loose. You know? Cause that's what everybody says you're supposed to do.

Right? And Kenny was probably 50 years old at the time, been hunting his whole life. Yeah. He's like, no, we're not, we're not gonna stop the track. And then you're, I was the same way. I'm like, what are you talking about? Yeah. And I was like, you can just cross the road right there. Yeah. He goes, we're gonna go down the road.

And we're gonna turn around and we're gonna, we're gonna just take our time coming back. Mm-hmm. I'd done this, and this is the stupid part about it. I'd already tried to turn pups loose on coons a hundred times and never could catch 'em. Right. But I wanted to do it again. Right. Because it doesn't make sense.

You gotta be able, able to do, it's making sense. And, and so we went up [00:23:00] the road and we probably went two or three miles, so it took us, you know, 10 or 15 minutes to get back. And he's like, just take your time. Don't worry about it. And he put that pup down, trailed it. Yeah. Treat it. Yeah, I don't understand it.

And no one can explain. I don't think anyone will ever explain that it's sent the, i we've done podcasts on it. Have you? Yeah. On Scent Discrimination, waste Scent Works. Heath hired on our Wednesday show, uh, he's a master canine trainer that, uh, that that does all kinds of scent work when Jeff Shetler is one of the world renowned.

We had, we had Nathan Hall, Dr. Nathan Hall on the podcast, and he spent 11 million in Homeland Security grant money studying, studying scent, and how a dog. Wow, I didn't realize such things, such studies existed. Yeah. And a do how a dog uses the whole factory to identify and break down scent and use that scent to detect things, track things, all kinds of stuff.

[00:24:00] Mm-hmm. Yeah. And we've had him on, so when, when an animal moves across a landscape like that, especially small animals, we got, we got an audience peeking through the window. Yeah. Good deal. Yeah. Um, as they move across the landscape, the scent is coming off of that animal. Kind of like a, you know, when you drive down a county road and the dust is just flying up behind you Right.

You know, it, it doesn't settle right away. Mm-hmm. You know, you can be standing there and the truck goes by and then, Three minutes later, you're standing off to the side of the road and it's, you're choking on it, you know? Right. So, so scent is made up a scarf and it comes off the animal, it plumes up behind him and then it's gotta have time to settle.

Right. Yep. That's amazing cuz. Warner. Warner, Glenn. Described it, the way he describes it to me was like, um, talking about smoke coming off of this. Yes. Well, they use smoke just like dust, you're saying. But he, and, and, but Warner's not, you [00:25:00] know, this is pre-study. Yeah. That's just his observation. But it's amazing.

Now when you say that, that he had it figured out, there was, I mean, relatively there, was there a dog or there was a, a scent book? It's called Scent. It's by, uh, Dr. Peral, and that's one of the things that we use, we use smoke machines to, to, for it to help us as canine handlers. Mm-hmm. Learn how scent works.

And you just walk through there with a smoke machine and on high humidity days, which you don't get many here. Right. You know, it'll hang in the air. It'll drift up above where? Out of a dog's, out of the reach of a dog's nose, you know, they may trail, they may trail it 50 yards, a way away, way downhill of it.

Yeah. Way off the track. Way downhill, way down. Yeah. Where it's settling and the wind's taking it and stuff like that. It's amazing. It just, it blows my mind, but the thing that really blows my mind is, um, something that we depend on so heavily mm-hmm. As hunters and hounds men, and yet we know so little about it.

[00:26:00] Right. That's what's so cool about it. Yeah. The mysteries of Sent Dub Evans, you know, in his book. Yeah. We had that whole chapter called The Mystery of Scent. Wild Analogies. All right. Here's a magic question. We ask all, we ask all kinds of lion hunters this question. Mm-hmm. Do you think a lion can shut off its scent?

Yeah. They, yeah. I, I don't, I, I can't believe, and I can't try to convince anyone to believe that they can shut their scent off. Mm-hmm. But the whole deal, when they go to sneaking. That's the whole thing. So like, if they're stalking a deer, and not that I've, I've not, I've only seen two lines in my life without hounds.

I've been, I've, I've had horrible luck. I've got guides that have seen 30 or 40 of 'em. They got pictures and video to prove it, you know? Yeah. Um, but I've been called lots of times where either a line got spooked and, and you know, like a cat. Anybody that's seen a house cat, you know, they, they'll, they'll run off and then they, they'll either hold up, you know?

Mm-hmm. They get behind the little bitty bush, they think they're hidden, or they'll go [00:27:00] to just creeping away. And much like whenever they'd be stalking something. And I've seen that over and over when just when we're trailing something and if you got a little snow or something or some way to figure out that you can see the tracks and figure out that they, they were stalking a deer or mm-hmm.

Whatever. Mm-hmm. Um, I, I guess the best example would be like when you get called and, and they'll call you and the guy was sitting right there, maybe deer hunting or something, and they were glassing and they watched, they glassed up the lion and the deer and they saw the whole deal take place. Whether he got, if he gets the deer, well that's, that's gonna be pretty easy.

But a lot of times they'll miss him. And you go right there and you turn the dogs out and they won't do anything. Mm-hmm. You might get a little bit of cold tring, but I mean, the guy just saw this lion an hour ago, right? Yeah. Over there. And of course they, he thinks your dogs are worthless. That's always that The hunters are the same way.

When we have clients, they, when you tell 'em something runs across the road and you say, we ain't turning out on it, they, they think it, I mean, he doesn't want me to catch anything, you know? Right, right. But, um, but yeah, you get there and they, and it's just not there until you can get to where he gets up and starts moving again mm-hmm.[00:28:00]

In a normal, natural pattern, you know, whatever he is doing there, uh, then they'll pick up and just fly. Yeah. But, yeah, so I, I don't, I don't know how to answer that. I, yeah, I mean, they say turn their scent off, but that's pretty, that's pretty farfetched, right. I mean, I don't see how that's, I'm not a scientist by any stretch of the word, but.

I don't, I, I don't know what they do, but something dramatically Sure. Changes when they go to sneaking. Yeah. Bear, I don't know about on that. I don't think so. Mm-hmm. On a bear. Um, maybe if they stalk something, but lions are all the time stalking something. Yeah. Or a bobcat. Yeah. Um, or sneaking, you know, and, and that's, they do something.

But I know it makes it really, really difficult. Yeah, for sure. For sure. And do you see the same thing? I've seen the same thing on raccoons. We just talked about not being able to, you know, track raccoons at certain times, but, uh, yeah, there's, it's one of the mysteries of, of hunting that keeps us in, involved in it.

And there's some people that are [00:29:00] adamant about it and there's some people that are like, no, it doesn't happen. Um, you know, Dale Lee is kind of the one that started that and, um, that's right. He talked about it too, huh? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. Yeah, it's interesting. So, um, You guys do a lot of bear hunting on, on the ranch here.

And we do here. We got a horrible, horrible quota situation here. I'm sure you're aware of that. Yeah. Cuz you guys are in the same zone over here. Um, we've got, we can hunt other zones. Mm-hmm. We can hunt across here. And this one's gigantic, but the way the seasons are set up at, over, you know, the August season works fine.

That's a horrible time to be hunting bear everybody'd agree on that. Agreed. For lots of reasons. You know, it's hot and their hair isn't really good and yeah, it's not terrible. We get away with it here. They don't rub real bad like those Alaska bears or, you know, places like that do. But, um, that's a huge problem here.

So we still do hunt here some, and then, and then across the road we've got some ranches that are in the next zone over. And it's, it's huge. And, um, And we do, we do real well there, but we can only [00:30:00] hunt the August hunt because then by the time hounds open back up, you're into elk season and elk. And when is that elk?

When does it open back up? September 1st. That's when archery elk starts. Nobody hunts 'em then, but you can't, um, well, you can't hunt hounds then at that point. Oh, I gotcha. Not here right now. That's archery and spot stock only. Okay. You can't, you can't hunt bear. As long as the quota's still open, you can hunt bear.

But then on the 25th of September, archery ends archery elk ends. Mm-hmm. And then they, they'll allow you to go any legal weapon and hounds again, but then you're into elk hunting there. And so nobody elk or king in this country. You know? You bet. And, and everybody believes that if you run hounds, it'll run all the elk off the face of the planet, which you and I and any credible hounds man know is absolutely not the truth.

But, You, you can't blame him. Mine will. They're getting mine. Yeah. Yeah, they can. Yeah. There's time I was running, I was trying, the, the dog struck something the other day up above me and they made a big, they went around the, the mason, they brought it back, back to me or went along the, [00:31:00] uh, rock face there.

They came down across the little ditch and came out and, and so I'm, of course I'm watching them on my Garmin. Mm-hmm. I'm like, I'm gonna see where they come across and just see what they're running. And I get down there and the dogs run across in front of me. Of course, they're sore footed and outta shape, not used to this country and Right.

And, uh, I'm looking down all I'm seeing Zoc tracks and I'm just wanting to get on the button Bad. Mm-hmm. You know, just, and I just keep looking, looking and looking. I step off the side of the road and there's a bear track down in the. Down on the creek. Okay. And I was like, now what do you do? Am I, did a bear just happen to come through here?

Or these guys, you know? Yeah. There you go. Yeah. But, but no, I side totally sidetracked you there. So how, um, do you guys, you guys take a lot of bears during the, during the August season? We do. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We, we, we kill a bunch of them. I, it's not just me. I've got, I've got some guys, we do spot and stock hunts to try to capitalize on that timeframe.

Sure. And then we've got some smaller [00:32:00] ranches that we don't wanna run hounds on. You get on the neighbors real easy. Sure. It doesn't work, you know, or they don't want you. So that we know how that goes and Yeah. Um, but then we, we do, we do still hunt 'em with bear. I've actually basically quit with the hounds on bear myself.

I don't think you and I had talked about that at all, um, for a litany of reasons. But I've got a boy, John Aver that works for me that's got. The ba there's nobody got better bear dogs. I would never put it that way. And um, so he, he keeps, uh, he hunts for the government on my old job in Colorado that I was telling you about.

Yeah. When I hunt for the government and, uh, he hunts all summer and makes more sense for him to have 'em. So he's got all of them. And so, uh, I just kind of coordinate everything. And we do, like I say, we do spot in stock and then John runs everything, uh, with the hounds. Now I, it's almost shameful for me to look you in the eye and say that, but, uh, I didn't run a bear last year, so, um, they're, uh, For, for me, we can, we can hunt lion here year round.

Mm-hmm. And, and you have, um, we basically can only hunt for about 15 days of bear season here. Yeah. [00:33:00] And so my dogs will run either species. Right. That's, that's the issue with that. Mm-hmm. And so lion hunting here in the summer or the, the spring or the fall or early, you know, before the bears are gone.

It's, it's very problematic. Um, because you'll, you know, You, you're trying to run a lion, and if you've gotta trail him very far and you cross a hot bear track, they're gone. Sure. You know, they're gonna go catch the bear. That's a big deal. I've always wanted like one species packs of dogs, but to have a, a full pack of bear dogs and a full pack of lion dogs, I'd need 50 hounds.

No kidding. Yeah. To split 'em that way. And so that's, that's another big part of it. And then, and then from a business standpoint, We are so busy that time of year. It's nuts with other things. Lots and lots of antelope, hunters and things like that. Mm-hmm. And I've always been in the bear woods, you know, and my wife's dealing with, I mean, we have waves that, that time of year of 40 hunters a week.

Wow. On five different ranches or something like that. And so she's dealing with a lot and I'm trying to, and it was just the combination of things. Um, I love running bear, but I would rather run a lion. Mm-hmm. [00:34:00] Any day of the week. And, um, I just bears, I don't wanna say they're not easy. Anybody think, you know, there's so many different challenges with bear hunting.

Yeah. They're not hard to trail, but in general, you know, like a lion is. But there's a litany of other things that make bear hunting difficult. Um. They can Sure run. I, I still love it, but the heck I, John's got all the, do you know John's got 30, 40 dogs, you know, that he keeps Yeah. Runs bear as long as bear out, you know, all year with him and um, and so he's got it.

So I can still go if that is the cool part, but I'm slowly e evolving. Um, I've got dogs now that are two years old that have never been on a bear, so we're getting there. You're trying to make specialists. Yeah. Yeah. Cat dogs strictly. You know, where I can go hunt a lion right now and uh, don't have to worry about 'em.

Trash riding a bear trail over a, where essentially you treat it like they're trashing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is still hard for me to say that, right? Cause I've hunted bear forever. But, um, you know, just, it kind of got. Um, you know, I've caught lots and lots and lots of bear and, and, um, I just, it seems like if we had a good season here, I don't think there's any [00:35:00] way I'd do that, but it, it doesn't seem to like it's getting any better either with these quotas and it's so, I mean, this is on, we're sitting in, we're open for about five to seven days every year, which is ludicrous.

That's what I've heard. That's all bureaucratic and, and, uh, we've got, you know, we've got really great factions of game and fish here that they know it's a problem as well, but it, unfortunately, we don't manage wildlife strictly by science anymore. Bureaucracy gets involved in it. You bet. Big time politics.

Yeah. And, uh, with the powers of the B right now, it's not improving at all, so I just, I don't have to have as many dogs either. That's the thing. I mean, I have 40 dogs, you know, something like that. And, and now, you know, I. Cut way down. And that's nice as well. You used to have 40. Yeah, we've, I, I have, I think my record I had all about 48, but, uh, actually after I got hurt, uh, we had some wrecks cuz the boys were trying to run 'em for me Yeah.

In the fall to take our hunting commitments, you know, and, uh, the bear hunters. And so, uh, yeah, it was a little outta hand, but yeah, I'd we keep, I'd keep 30, you know, all the time. I always had 30 dogs pretty much, [00:36:00] you know, for the last 15 years or so. Wow. Yeah. That's, that's a pile of hounds. It's a, it's, yeah, it's, it's a full-time job.

Just taken care of. Yeah, sure. How'd you get hurt? The bear deal. So, yeah. Um, you want the whole story or just a brief overview or? Uh, uh, as much as you want to tell, I think it's an interesting story. Yeah. Yeah. And I haven't heard it from you, so I'm just hearing the parts and pieces Yeah. Of it. So I'll try to not drag it on forever.

But the Hounds Man XP podcast is fueled by Joy Dog food. Joy Dog food has a rich tradition of supporting the Hounds Man of America. Founded in 1945, joy is proud of its history and the relationship it has built with the American Hounds man. And in 76 years, there's never been a recall made with a hundred percent of American made high quality ingredients.

Joy Dog Food has one of the highest calorie dense formulas on the market For 76 years, this Made In America product has kept hunting dogs in the field day [00:37:00] after day, season after season. And when we say Made in America, joy has a long track record of fighting for American freedoms by being on the front lines against the animal rights movement and their extremist tactics.

Joy will fuel your hounds and fight for your freedoms fueled by joy.

How it happened was, it was, um, it'll be five years in July. That's hard to believe. We were talking about time gone so fast. Um, so it was, uh, July of 2018. Uh, July 25th. Mm-hmm. To be exact. And I was exercising, getting ready for this crazy hot August bear season, you know? Right. I've got, I have, you know, a pile of dogs loose and, um, I, I, I do the same loop every day on a side-by-side on a buggy, and I go south of my house and it's pretty much all antelope country.

There's one gap right there, right? Yeah. Where two MAs come together, but it's not a lot of bear in that country. So 99 times out of a hundred you don't, I've caught a line or [00:38:00] two out of it, you know, but anyways, um, I'd go south and it's this 10 mile loop I would take 'em on. I always wait till it got hot, you know, I wouldn't do it real because I'm, I'm trying to condition 'em for that real, real tough heat.

Sure. And I went on this big loop south of the house. It was about 11 o'clock as I recall. Um, maybe a little before. But anyways, I go, I went on my loop. So I went through that gap south, make my loop, come back, and right as I got into the gap, I, uh, there's some water there. There's a spring, a little creek runs down through there.

They just exploded. Just absolutely exploded. One thing I've noticed about this country, it water mm-hmm. Is a magnet. Water is a big deal in this country. Yeah, yeah. The dryer the better in that sense because it isolates stuff. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And you can start lots of game on water. Yeah. But, so I got in that gap there, and it's just between two canyon walls, two mesa walls there, and they just blew out of there.

And so I didn't know, you know, could be a bear, could be a lion, whatever, you know, I wasn't really sure. And they just, Tore out of there and went kind of up toward the rim. And I, [00:39:00] so I kept driving up the county road there on my side by side. And I'm thinking I'm, I'm already on a timeline. I'm late. I was born late.

Right. And I'd probably be late to my funeral. And I, I had commitments in town with a mechanic, Donny. And, uh, I'd already missed the first two appointments I'd had with him, and I had to reschedule. So I was really not wanting to be late on him again. So I'm bummed already that we're running something. And it's hot now, right?

Sure. It's like 1130 probably. You had no intention of bear hunting today? Zero. I didn't have callers on 'em, I didn't have nothing, you know, I just, no kidding. Yeah. When I exercise, I just turn 'em all loose, you know, they all listen real good. So I, and you know, not generally in bear country, it's not an issue.

You get lazy, you know, you don't have to call her 30 dogs or whatever. Sure. And, uh, So they hit that track and they run it through there. And I keep driving it through there. I'm listening to 'em and here in just a minute, they cut. So he had obviously just crossed that simul gun. It turns out it was a bear.

And he got up to the rim and I look up there and there's this giant red boar walking down the rim. And 35 or so dogs, uh, some just obnoxious number of dogs are fogged in following him. Dogs. You wouldn't [00:40:00] normally hunt with that many dogs? Not usually. No. Yeah. The whole thing on having that many dogs is cuz we hunt for a living with clients and so we, we have to rotate.

You gotta, cause you're going, going hard. Yep. 15 days straight with no break. So you gotta have fresh dogs. Right? Yeah. So, so, but no, I, when I exercise, I turn 'em all loose at one time. Sure. And I go along through there, my phone. I just wanted to make sure everybody knew that, you know, that we don't normally.

Normally no pack 30 dogs out there to, to treat, to catch a bear. No. You know, unless you're just gonna go on a one day deal Right. Or something like that. Right. Um, but, um, you might, I've probably known to take too many, but, um, so I, I see the bear going down through there and literally my phone rings right then, and it's Tyler, my oldest son who you've not met.

Um, and he, at the time, well he's 15 now. I guess he'd have been about 10, you know, I think that's all gonna add up. Right. Um, yeah, he'd have been about 10, 10 or 11 and, um, He uh, he calls me and says, uh, they're outside working. Their mama had 'em doing something behind the house. Well, they've been with Hound since they were a little [00:41:00] bitty and they know, they know they're running something and they look up there and they see the bear because it's right by my house.

So it's like a quarter mile from my house. The bear's like, uh, 500 yards max from the house right there. Mm-hmm. As the way the county road goes up through there. And I see him, I'm all bummed cuz now I don't know how long it'll take me to get him off. I don't have callers to tone them or nothing like that.

Right. And they just started him. So you're in it to the end now. Yeah. Yeah. We know this isn't probably gonna be real quick and, um, Calls me, he says, the dogs are after a bear. And I said, yeah, I know. I said, I'm, he didn't know where I was. And he didn't know. I was sitting there looking at him and I said, well, yeah, I'm right here in the gap looking at him.

And um, and he said, what are you gonna do? And I said, well, I gotta get 'em called off. But I said, it's gonna be a while. They're gonna need to get hot. But it was hot. We had that on our side, I'm sure it was over 90, you know, at that point. And so, uh, he said, can I go with you? And I said, yeah, but just run across the, there wasn't a road there, he just had to run across.

I said, run across the pasture there and you can jump in with me. So he runs across the pasture and jumps in with me. Well, here in a minute, my wife calls and my sister at the time, she's passed away now two years ago. [00:42:00] But, um, she was living with us. She was a severe, severe alcoholic, I mean severe alcoholic.

Mm-hmm. And we had kind of rescued her. I had to go get her from South Texas. She was living with us for about six weeks that summer. At that point where we grew up in Colorado, there weren't any bears then. Yeah. I mean, it was a, it was like, like seeing a lion. Mm-hmm. If somebody saw a bear back then, so we weren't around bears.

And then she lived in south Texas. She married a guy from down there. Yeah. And, um, she, she had been saying since she'd been with us that summer, she wanted to see a bear. Mm-hmm. And, uh, my wife calls, so that's why she calls. She said, well, come get your sister so she can see this bear. You have to pay attention to some of these steps here too, on how this whole deal worked out.

Okay. I guess. I guess it's, you know, how it worked out in my benefit. Um, so. I was irritated with her to begin with. My sister, you know, I was already short with her kind of anyhow, just because of personal issues there. And, um, and then I'm on a time crunch here and I don't, I, I wanna try to get these dogs shut down as quick as I can.

And I said I, I don't have time to fool around with, with Bonnie right now. I, you know, I, I'm just gonna go on. So [00:43:00] I, I, we driving up the county road, well, here in just a minute, we're going around the mason. The dog's kind of we're right at the point of the mason. The dogs kind of cut out and went over across the top of the mesa.

Oh, okay. Nobody can see my hands here. I'm showing you. And they cut across the top. Yeah. This is audio. This isn't visual. Yeah. I'm trying to really use my hands here. But they cut across the edge of the me the top where you couldn't see 'em no more. Kind of went out hearing a little bit, you know? Yeah. And we're.

Buzzing around on the buggy and I hear something behind me. Well, my wife comes driving up behind me and I've got a little white Tacoma that I hung out of too. And uh, she comes pulling up and she's got my sister Bonnie, and then she's got our other three children, our oldest daughter, Delaney, and then Allison and Tanner, who you've met.

Yeah. Here's Tanner was a little bitty guy, you know, he was like a year and a half or two. Wow. Excuse me, at the time. And uh, so they're in for the ride. And so we go on around the Mesa and um, we get around there, Blosser Mesa is what this mesa's called. And uh, we go on around there and we're putting out through the grass and pretty soon we can hear 'em real loud.

You can hear 'em over the buggy, you know. And um, and we get up there and we get [00:44:00] stopped and here they come and they come out across the open and this big giant, beautiful cinnamon bear. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous bear. Mm. You know, if, if I was gonna lifesize a bear that was him, you know, that's a bear. Yeah.

If I was ever gonna do one for myself. And, and, uh, he was, uh, he was fighting the dogs across there and, you know, they're all fogged in. We gotta see him several times as they kind of moved along the edge of the mesa. Mm-hmm. And, um, Noteworthy as he was violent. Like that was one of them. I, I seen like three in my whole, out of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bears.

Mm-hmm. No exaggeration. You know, I did it forever and hunt for the government all summer. Um. He was nasty, nasty, mean, especially for as big as he was. He wasn't overly fat that time of year either. And we've been in a drought here forever. Mm-hmm. But he's just giant framed bear, you know? And um, a lot of times they just lumber, you know, it's, yeah.

They just walk through and it's like, you can't hurt me. Go away away. Right. Them 250 pounder that are violent, you know, and they catch the dogs and they're fast and, but he was nasty. He would run one for a hundred yards. I'm not, you know, when they'll go after one Sure. A of times they're like an old cow or something.

Mm-hmm. They just, they'll take a little bit of a charge. The dog [00:45:00] scatter like quell, and then the bear quits and keeps going or doing what he's doing. This sucker would line one out for a hundred yards, you know, where the dog thinks he's getting away and all of a sudden he looks, and the bear's right there, you know, like, Hey, you're not supposed to be doing this.

Every other bear I've ever seen only chase me for a few feet. Right, right. He, he was extremely, extremely nasty. And I, I mean, at only two or three, you know, that I saw that was just, I mean, really vicious, you know? Yeah. And of course it's hot and he's just like, any critter, you get 'em hot, they get mad and he goes across there and we keep watching.

Well, finally they bay and, um, They just aren't moving. We can't see 'em. But they're in a, they're on the side of the mesa in a little ring cone, you know, a little inverted canyon. Mm-hmm. Kind of on the edge there. And there's a bench, cuz you got a rim. It's not a big rim in that country. Lot, lot of places it's 10 to 20 feet, but it's just nasty, jumbled rock and cedar country.

Mainly Cedar. Yeah. Pinon. And, uh, he's on a bench, I can kind of tell. And they're baed, you know, they're baited hard, you know, they're just holding him there and he ain't moving no more. You can hear him rev up. Like he, like, he comes at 'em, you know, kind of deal how they soup up. [00:46:00] Yeah. And, uh, but they're not moving anymore.

And I'm thinking, okay, everybody's getting hot now. Now's my chance. I'm on, go up there. And I, I I, I don't know if you do the same thing, but if a lot of times you can spook 'em, the dogs, I mean like if you get right in the middle of 'em mm-hmm. You know, and then scream at 'em, you can kind of shock 'em.

Right. Not literally shock but spook 'em where they come off. Cuz again, no callers, you know. Right. Usually if I can tone 'em, I can shut whatever down, but mm-hmm. Um, yeah. My commands we're done. You go in there, it's like, we're done. We're done. That's cool. I, I'm not, that's, yeah. And you can, they, they all look at you, you know, all of a sudden it's over kind of thing.

Yeah. That's neat to cue 'em actually like that. Yeah. I just start screaming at 'em. Um, so again, everybody's with us. That's another one of those things, you know, on how this deal shaped up. Bonnie got to see the bear my sister, several times, so that was cool. And, um, so I said, all right, I'm gonna hike up there and I'm gonna get him.

Cause now I'm just panicked. I'm late again, you know? I'm sure. And I'm fixing to miss all my stuff in town. It's, it's, uh, around noon or getting very near noon. [00:47:00] And so I take off and I go walking up the mace. I had just destroyed my ankle playing basketball with the kids about two weeks before. I mean, like a, they call it a.

Uh, class four sprain. I mean, it was absolute surgery, like destroyed all the tendons. Mm-hmm. It was, my whole leg was black, you know? Yeah. And I'm just two weeks in it. I'm tender, you know, I'm going up through there and, uh, so I take off and I, I started off and my da, my oldest daughter Delaney said, I'm gonna go with you.

You know, they've all seen bad bears and no big deal, right. We do this all the time. And, um, I said, no. Um, you, no. Her mother called her back and said, help me to move the truck cuz she was gonna leave. So my wife, Janelle was gonna leave. She said, well, we're gonna go back. Mm-hmm. And another thing that was really cool about this is the pistol was in that pickup.

Just a self-defense gun. Yeah. You know, well it was a 10 millimeter. Mm-hmm. But, um, I had self-defense rounds in it, you know. Sure. Critical defense or something. Mm-hmm. Not a bear round at all. Right. But I just decided I'd put that pistol in my belt and I never normally would probably even carry a gun on a deal like that cuz I'm not gonna kill him, you [00:48:00] know?

Mm-hmm. Just gonna call the dogs off. So I grabbed the pistols take off, Delaney's gonna go with me and Janelle says she's leaving. I said, no, stay here cuz the pickup will be here and I can get the dogs home quicker. I gotta get outta here. Mm-hmm. And, um, so I, I I take off and, uh, d Delaney's gonna go with me.

Janelle calls her back and says, um, You stay here, so you help me move this pickup. I told 'em to put it up in the shade or something. Sure. Right there. You know, so they could wait there a minute. So I take off, so I'm alone and I go up the mesa and it's, it's not very far. It's probably like line of sight, like 200 yards, maybe 150 yards, something like that.

Li linear, you know, you had to climb up the edge and mm-hmm. It was just super rocky. It's rough. Little, little Dylan. I go walking up there and they're, I, I'm just about to top out and they're on a bench. Right. You know those, A lot of people probably don't know what we mean by that, but that's, you got the little rim rock there, and then you've got a kind of a flatter area with a bunch of big giant cedars right there.

And then there's big boulders, like, like, um, recliner sized or sofa size. Sure. Boulder strewn across there. [00:49:00] So I'm sneaking up. Well, I'm doing what anybody's gonna do. I'm getting my phone out because this is gonna be awesome. Oh yeah. He's bathed there. And I'm gonna get some pictures and video. It's gonna be an epic video.

Yeah. I'm gonna go viral like the Whitaker Brothers. There you go. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And so I'm getting my phone out and I just, I just tucked that pistol in my belt, like in my leather belt there. I just, I'd have a holster or nothing. I threw it in there and I get my phone all rigged up and I start sneaking up over the deal.

Cause I don't want him to see me. You know, he's gonna booger and go. Mm-hmm. Sure. And, um, I got, I start sneaking up and I get up and I can see him and he's standing there and the dogs are, you know, just up the, how far away was he? Right then? He was, um, oh, I don't know. Uh, 10 yards away. Ooh. Something like that.

You're real close. Yeah. So it was, I didn't have any choice to Sure. To get to them in order to be able to see 'em and get right in the dogs. Mm-hmm. Like I wanted to do, to scare them to get their attention. Yeah. Uh, be able to scream at 'em and get 'em to walk out of there with me. Yeah. It was, he was, you know, 30 feet, I guess, you know, something like that.

Wow. He was right there and he was right at the edge of the [00:50:00] rim, pretty much, and just, there was a couple big cedars and he was kind of tucked down in those rocks, you know, those rocks. I said, mm-hmm. We stre across there. So I go sneaking up out on that rock and I stand up real, real easy and I'm trying to kind of mess with my phone and remember my ankle.

Sure. He is like throbbing. I can fill my pulse in it, so I'm having to really pay attention to that as well. So I, I climb up on this rock and I'm trying to keep balance there and I'm fixing the fire, the phone up. And apparently I did, you know, I'd got the record kind of started there and, um, I looked over there I guess before or at some point right in there.

I looked over there at him and he hadn't seen me or anything like that, and I was trying to keep him from seeing me so I could get the pictures in the video. And I'm like fidgeting with my phone now, and I'm stood up, but, you know, I'm being still, and he's got a lot of stuff around him. I'm fidgeting with my phone a little bit, and I look over, I kind of glance over at him again and he's looking dead at me.

Ooh. And which, right. No big, I mean, you've done this a lot. Yeah. Like, no big deal. It doesn't matter. My biggest fear is he's gonna go now and I ain't gonna get a gosh dang picture of him. Yeah. The [00:51:00] video him that I want. Mm-hmm. That was my biggest fear of the whole deal. And, um, I looked, but he, I thought maybe he was looking through me, you know, just, just looking around.

Looking out. Yeah. Something like that. But he looked, he literally like, looked me up and down. I mean, he, he, you know, you know where they humans different than a dog, you know? Mm-hmm. In their eyes. And they, he really looked at me and like, I got his attention, you know, there's no doubt he busted. Sure. And I'm thinking Dadgummit now, I'm like messing around with my phone trying to get it fired up to do that.

And all of a sudden there are so many things go on here at one time. But it, it was like I got that weird feeling almost. And I looked back over at him and he was pinning his ears down. Mm-hmm. Just like, like he would if he was gonna run a dog. And he just comes blowing across that like, rock thing right at me.

And I jerked the pistol out and I just, one handed, you know, I got my phone in the other hand, the stupid thing I should have thrown down, but I'm still not that booard yet. You know, like it's, it, it, it just from complacency, honestly, that's what caused the whole issue here. It should have never happened.

Um, and I fired him. I believe you'll have to bear with me on this, you can help me through here, but I, I [00:52:00] think it was four, four rounds. I shot him coming across there and he went to spinning, you know how a predator will bite at their wound? Sure. And, uh, he just goes to spinning like a hurricane Right. Or tornado, um, biting at his wound.

And he spins kind of down closer to me and like being jaded and, and complacent. I just stand there, you know? Yeah. It's like, and I'm watching him. Yeah. I mean, I, I, I have no doubt he's gonna do me harm mm-hmm. Or I wouldn't have shot him. Sure. You know, like, it wasn't like he was running by me, just panicked, like stuff does.

Mm-hmm. Like the son of a gun was, yeah. He was locked. Be, I'd never seen one do that. You know, I had a couple of 'em act funny, but like, there was something different about this. It was very apparent. And, uh, so I, I went to pounding on him and he was spinning, like I said, real hard, and I just stand there.

And so now he's from here to the end of the table. You're better with footage. But I, yeah. I don't know. 10 feet. Yeah, 10 feet. He's right there, and I'm still standing there. So, again, stupid me, you know. Well, he's, I'm thinking maybe he'll peter out, you know, and, and die. Mm-hmm. But he's not slowing down. He's just roaring.

And of course, [00:53:00] the dogs are now kind of fogging in after him. And I just thought literally as casually as this, I thought, I thought I better step away a little bit. You know, he's, he's pretty close, you know? Mm-hmm. He's still very, very alive. How much do you think this bear weighed. I, I hate to say cuz you know how everybody was, he 300 plus missed a chicken by 50 pounds?

Two 50 Henson. Who's the game warden? He was the game warden on scene at when this happened. There's no one weighed any more bears than Clint Henson. Cuz when they trap bears transport, bears have to euthanize bears. Let's, let's save it. We'll save it. Let's come back to it. Well, I'm just gonna say he, he, he doesn't miss 'em.

You know, they weigh every one of 'em. He said 400 pounds. Okay, so this country, he's King Kong. Yeah. That's a big bear in this country. That's a big bear. Yeah. Huge. So he was giant, you know, there's no doubt just from seeing him before. Um, so, Um, I decide I'm gonna step away. Well, there's all those big boulders.

You could kind of walk between 'em, but it would take a lot more time. Mm-hmm. So I tried to hop, I'm kind of forgetting about my ankle at this point. I was getting kind of serious. So I hopped. It was three hops away. I remember it vividly, just like a frog [00:54:00] bouncing across there. Hopped on three different boulders, three different boulders, boom.

And, and the reason why I stopped at the third is because I hit the edge. It wasn't a bluff, it wasn't like a cliff straight off, but it was extremely steep. Extremely steep, and just gnarly rocky stuff with some scattered cedars in there. And when I lit on that third rock, this all, now again, I'm, I'm going into super slow mow so you can understand the whole scope of what I saw.

I lit on that rock and as soon as I land, two dogs just fly past me. You know what that means, right? Yeah. That I don't mean like they're lollygagging, like they're getting out of the dodge. And immediately I thought, man, he's right there. He had to have moved again because they're running from him. So again, this all happened very quickly, but I look over my shoulder and when I look over my shoulder, he's like on me, he's mid-air in his head.

I could have touched his head right there. Oh my gosh. So there he is. And, and he just, yeah. From that point on, everything you hear about these situations of super stress, uh, in combat or police officers, I mean literally life or death [00:55:00] situation. And it's actually, there's a clinical term called taaka psychia, and that's where your mind.

Goes into super, super slow mo. Mm-hmm. And it's basically, it's, it's a fight or flight thing. Right. How you can handle a situation and by slowing it down and processing it. And that was actually kind of cool to experience that. I wish I could avoided this whole deal, don't get me wrong. But, um, that was pretty cool to experience what the human body's capable of doing.

Cause I'd never been in that kind of a situation. Yeah. Not that stressful. Right. And so he hit me and he hit me so hard. I, it was violent, like the, the force behind it Absolutely violent. He kind of bent me over backwards, you know, cause he hit me in the back and when I re I, I, my arms just reached back. I reached my arm around him and like grabbed onto him almost.

Cuz he's like kind of, he kind of hit me, you know, like, I guess about at my belt line. Mm. And, and I remember it was the weirdest sensation cause I. Again, your mind, the human mind's weird, I guess. Right? Maybe I'm probably weirder than others, but it was like surreal that I had my arm around a live [00:56:00] bear.

Sure. That's something that really stuck out to me. I can still feel that hair right now. No kidding. You know how many hair I, I had hair. Lots of 'em, but they're not alive usually, you know, unless they're tranquilized or something. Right. So he just hammers me off this ledge and it's super steep. So I guess I tumble, I don't really have recollection of how I got it down there, but I, I'm sure I was tumbling, crashing down through there and I slammed to a stop on my back with my head going downhill.

So my feet are uphill, but it's severe, you know? Mm-hmm. Like it's, I'm, you're looking like, like you're looking up a wall almost. And for a fleeting second, I thought, man, that was wild. A and I thought he left. You know, like I thought he hit me and then there were gonna go on and in an instant he come from behind.

There was like a cedar and like a rock. There. He come around that just like, there was no doubt in he came looking for you. Yeah, absolutely. There's no question in my mind. He, I, I just think that, I think that he'll save me if we'd have been on level ground. He'd have had his way with me because I'd have just flopped over right there and stopped, right?

Mm-hmm. But when he hit me, hit me so hard, he obviously didn't get ahold of me. I don't, I [00:57:00] can't honestly say if he bit me then or not, cuz he You're not feeling anything. Yeah. At that point. And, and, um, but he didn't get ahold of me. He wasn't able to hang onto me, so I crashed and stopped. And of course this is happening extremely quickly.

Mm-hmm. And I, I'm looking uphill and I'm kind of a little bit of an angle like that on the hill and he just, Piles around there, and I remember like his weight on my legs, like his front feet hit my legs. Like he's coming right at my face and I just turn my pistol as quick as I can. I don't have time to like aim at all.

Sure. I just, I'm, it's all that subconscious, you know? Mm-hmm. And I just turn and bang and I fire into him. Well, it was enough. It made him sort of recoil, just spanned a little bit, you know, like it, it, it stopped him just for a second from getting on my face and I just went to kicking as hard as I could possibly kick to get away from him.

And I got up and I turned, I was able to kind of stand up and I just was sprinting through this hellacious, like boulder field going down the hill. And you weren't feeling any pain or any bite zeros at this point? No, sir. Uhuh, no. You're invincible. It is [00:58:00] unbelievable, actually. Right. And that's why I say that.

Not, not that it was cool in any sense. I don't mean that and not braggadociously at all. Yeah. It's just that it, it was amazing what your body can do there. And so I, I'm, I take off again and I'm running, you know, like rolling, running. I, you know, just tearing off this hill as fast as I can get away from him.

And I fill him, hit me, he grabs me, and we just like roll, you know, like in a big ball, you know, kind of tumble a little bit. And he's on me and I stop, you know, we sort of come to a stop again and I just start kicking because I don't want him on my face. I just, that was really like mm-hmm. Vivid in my mind, like, he's going to rip your face apart, you know?

Sure. You've read the articles where bears bite people in the face and say, it sounds like an apple. Mm-hmm. Like you, you know, biting a chunk out of an apple. And I, it was just things like that and I was, I was kicking and I start shooting. But your, your mind again, I'm, I'm so con, I'm so aware of my feet. I, I want to head shoot him really bad.

Yeah. Yeah. I just wanna shut this deal off, right? Yeah. Cause we know how they get when they get amped up, even with vital shots. So [00:59:00] I'm kicking as hard as I can, but I literally, I, the thought crossed my mind just, shoot, even if you hit yourself in the foot, it's just, it's better to, but I would, I literally would body shoot him and it was like another, uh, four shots.

And now remember the iPhone deal or the phone up there? Yeah. So I had hit record, so I, I don't have any video of this happening. Everybody always asks that, but I have the audio. So I know my exact round count, I had downloaded my mags because I'd heard about spring set. That's a big contested theory. Sure.

I know now that they design 'em to hold 15 because they can hold 15 period. Yeah. But I had downloaded it and it turned out it was a total of 11. I didn't know that at the time. I couldn't even remember. But anyways, I body shot him like four more times as I'm just kicking as hard as I can. As he's like, he keeps trying to like gather me up, you know, and I'm kicking and shooting and kicking and shooting and kicking and shooting.

Keep going down the hill. And he finally catches me again and he gets a hold of me really good. And I'm trying to think about a way to get it shut off. And he's sort of like standing on me like my [01:00:00] upper body. And he's got a hold of my leg by the way, we landed again. So your, your head is kind of back towards his back feet then, and he's, he's coming over your shoulder right then and.

And by, yeah. Yeah. That would be a fair say. You know, we're tumbling and I'm scrambling, right? Mm-hmm. It's just none of this is in control, and so that's sort of where he is at, and so I stuck the pistol like into his neck right there. Yeah. Hey guys, have you checked out on X? Seriously, I'm coming off of a two week trip in Northern New Mexico, and I cannot tell you how important OnX was.

For me. It was a deal where this is an easy product for me to talk about just based on a two week experience. When you go into new country, and I've never been in the Paloma ranch country, Northern New Mexico before with all the features and OnX, I was able to get a really good grasp on that country and understand it at a [01:01:00] level that I never could have any other way.

There's features in there about. Tracking yourself so you can make your own tracks and keep track of where you've been. That's important when you're, when you're trying to navigate and head off hounds and, and learn trails. It's sped up the learning curve so quickly. Uh, and terrain features. You can look at topo maps.

You can look at at like heat maps that show you the degree of angle, so you know where those big drop offs are. Know where your dogs are headed. I can't, I can't say enough about it. You just gotta get into OnX and check out all the features. Go to OnX hunt.com and get the elite subscription today. Use a promo code H X P 20 and you will get 20% off of your subscription, your annual subscription to OnX.

Know where you stand with OnX. [01:02:00] Uh, I, I know my mind's just screaming. You've gotta shut him off. Know you gotta hit him in the spine. Mm-hmm. Central nervous system. Yeah. Right. Headshot or get him in the spine. Sure. So I stick it in there, boom, pull the trigger. And it obviously didn't hit his spine, but he kind of let go.

But whenever I shot him that time, he like, rebi and he grabbed a hole and he got me by the inside of the thigh. Well, on the inside of the thigh. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, um, I, and I can't honestly tell you where all the, the damage came from at what succession, I mean, I wasn't paying attention to that at all at that point.

Mm-hmm. But he picked me up and I remember, like, he, he literally like, uh, not standup like you see in the movies, but he picked me up where I was looking like laying, you know, pretty much my head was barely on the ground and looking up at him with my leg and his mouth and it was amazing. It was like, I was so calm cuz it was like, it was almost like a voice.

I, I'm not saying that I heard an audible voice mm-hmm. But it was like something. Was like telling me, just don't freak out and dump your mag or like, you're [01:03:00] already up arick here. Just be calm and, and bide your time. Make this work. Cause I, I'm also aware that I might be running outta ammo at this point.

Sure. Right. But my slide's closed. I know something. It sh theoretically it should be locked and loaded. Right? Mm-hmm. And, um, He finally sets me back down. Now he's, he's, you know, he's facing me level, but is Yeah. Yeah. We're still on the incline, but he's right there. So the shot I've been dreaming of is right there cuz he's chewing on my leg and I just slam the pistol.

Semi-automatic. 10 millimeters as a Glock, right? Mm-hmm. And I push it down on his head, I smash it on his head. You can't do that with a semi-auto. Yeah, I know this now. Takes it outta battery, takes it out of bat, you know, the term even. Yeah. I learned that after I was no pistol arrow. I, I carried one around, you know, and I have that 10 millimeter, cuz these guys talked about how cool it was or whatever.

I, I was, I've always been a rifle guy. Now I'm really into pistols. Yeah. Through that deal. Sure. I, I spent a lot of time laid up and I got really into pistols. I tune him and do all this stuff with him. Cool. But, um, anyways, I slammed it on him and I pulled the trigger and it clicked and he's like, crap. And I'm just [01:04:00] like, my gosh, I know I have a malfunction.

So, so you start breaking this down in your mind, you know. Really quickly. I know I've got a malfunction and so I just take, uh, it's not like you got time to look at what your issue is there. I just, I like, it's a wonder I didn't rip the slide off the gun. I ripped it as hard as I could to, to try to, no, no idea what's going on there.

But I tried to clear this malfunction and when I ripped it, I could literally like slow motion, see that live round come outta that pistol. It was unbelievable. Like, you know, just the sharpness and the awareness there, right? Yeah. Come out of the pistol. And the, and, and I don't know if she's, you did. I don't if she's gonna close now.

Cause I don't know where my, I don't know how much ammo I've got left. Did you reach up and catch it and hand load it back in barrel? I did. Gosh, in hindsight I should've. Oh, oh, you had the clarity, man, that's like, that's like kung fu moment right there. I should had that, it'd make a better story, but, uh, I saw the live round come out and I let it go and it's slammed shut.

Okay. Oh yeah. So, so we know, we know where we theoretically again, we should be live. Right. And you still still got your shot. Yeah, he's still wooing [01:05:00] me around. Yeah. He's losing a little bit of steam at this time. I, I, I mean, he's got like, what are we at? What is, he got nine rounds in him, I think, right now.

Mm. But, um, at least I think he is, maybe he's tired. I don't know. But, um, he's not, he's thanks. Sure. Not laying down. He's not standing still. He's thrashing me around. Mm-hmm. So I just kind of wait again until he quits shaking for just a second. Like, he's fixing to like, rebi and I put the gun down. I, I had no mental clarity on, or, or I didn't have the wherewithal to say, don't slam it on his head again.

I wasn't thinking, I, I wasn't sure, but I just put it up there and shot and it killed him. And he, he dropped right there. And how long do you think the whole deal lasted? In? About 20 seconds. Yeah. Yeah. So to me, if you'd have asked me fresh out of it, I'd have said, man, it was probably a minute because of this slow motion thing.

Mm-hmm. I can't stress that. It was insane how. Just unbelievable. Like super slow mo on a camera. Right. How everything broke down and then, you know, it's going super fast, but it stoned him. I lost all fear of him instantly right there. Sure. [01:06:00] And, and, but my slide pinned open. Ooh. That was the last round you had.

That was my 11th round. Yeah. That was my, my last round. Yeah. So he dies, you know, I know he is dead, but we're on such an incline. When he falls, we tumble a little bit. Mm-hmm. Because he's, he's basically holding me up. This hill's so steep. So we, we fall and tumble a little bit, and the way I came to rest, I'm back on my belly facing steeply downhill, my head's downhill, and I kind of slam into like a big boulder.

I'm almost hugging it. And he's uphill from me. Well, I go to rip my leg out from underneath him and it won't come. And I, I pull it again real hard. And again, I'm still feeling no pain. Um, I, I go to pull it out again. I can't get it. Well, I don't care how big he, he can weigh a thousand pounds. I can pull one leg out from him underneath him.

Right. So, I, I, I'm. I try to look and I'm on my belly, remember super steep alls I can see is the back of his head. Mm-hmm. Like it's bent over like this and his body's all uphill from me. So alls I can see is his ears in the back of his head. And um, I, so [01:07:00] I, I try to pull again, nothing happens and I'm thinking he's probably got his claws in me or maybe he's just bit down on me.

Right? Mm-hmm. So I go to like, reaching around back there cause I know that something's going on, right? Sure. And I go to reaching around and I, I, I push as hard as I can and I get my hand in his mouth thinking maybe I could pull his mouth open or something and I can feel his molars, they're, they're going uphill, so his canines are uphill, if that makes sense.

Pointing away. And I reach further and there's just something like insanely slimy in his mouth. That's the, that's the way I, that was the sensation I got from it. Mm-hmm. Like he had a fish in his mouth like super slimy. And it just perplexed me a little bit. And I reach and I reach as hard as I can reach back up there and I can feel hair it and like skin, but it ain't a bear.

Like, I reached further and I reached down in, and I reached inside of my leg. So like I reached holy cow inside of my Cal, and it dawned on me, that's my hair. You know? It's like the hair on your arm. Yeah. It's not the bear. And I, and that's when it was like, okay, this got real. And somewhere in there, at that point I hear screaming, [01:08:00] because remember now Janelle and the kids were all down the hill listening to this whole deal.

Go on. Yeah. And they, and I yelled a time or two, not out of pain or nothing, it was like, it was like when all that was happening, I wanted 'em to know something was wrong. Yeah. Like, I'm gonna need help over this, you know? For sure. Not that I wanted 'em to come up there, but call someone or something.

Mm-hmm. And so, I'm sitting there and I, I reach back and Janelle screams and I'm like, I'm like, I need help. You know, like, get up here. I can't, I don't remember exactly what I said, but she's yelling, you know, and, and in her defense, they don't know if the bear's dead or alive. They just hear all this shooting and yelling.

Right? Yeah. So they don't have any idea what's going on cause they can't see it. Thank God. Um, it, we're in the Cedars, you know, right then. And as I, I can feel just this warmth just flooding over my body. I knew without looking what that was blood. It's blood. Mm-hmm. And um, I look, and on this real severe hill, it's literally like pooling and running down the hill.

Like I'm in a pretty good flow of blood is running down the hill right there. And it's just covering me. So I think immediately I'm bleeding severely, [01:09:00] severely bad. Mm-hmm. I'm, I'm thinking, I know my leg just destroyed. Right. I don't even know what else, where was he latched on your calf? So I never could see this, and I can't explain this real well.

No one there could really explain it real well, but it'd be like, if I. If I got ahold of your T-shirt with, with a pair of pliers or something and then doubled it over a couple times and twisted it. Twisted it up. Because remember whenever I said I shot him, we tumbled. Well, we kind of tumbled different directions and he was bit down real hard.

Well, it just ripped my gastroc outta my calve basically. Well that is, it's your calf muscle, that big muscle. But it, he got locked into that going different directions and it just, it was like a wash rag or something that was wrapped severely tied around his teeth. That's the way that ended up. Oh my, my gosh.

So it was real hard. They couldn't even see it real well, cuz anytime they'd move it, I would just flip, you know? And now I'm starting to feel pain. Mm-hmm. It's the adrenaline, the big rush of adrenaline's gone, going away. And I'm really, really feeling this. So the blood starts flowing and I scream now at her, like, I'm like, get up here fast.

Like I need you to get up here. [01:10:00] Because I think I'm bleeding to, I'm, I'm sure that I'm bleeding. Sure. I actually resigned myself that I'm gonna die here. It's funny, we get real religious, you know? Mm-hmm. I'm like praying on our father, you know, and I'm like, really, really trying to, right. Yeah. Because I, I really did.

I thought I'd die right there. There are any atheists in foxholes? That's what they say. Yeah. And it's sort of a similar deal. Yeah. You know, not as, not as severe as war for sure. But, uh, uh, I could see how much blood is coming and I know I'm not gonna last very long at that rate. Mm-hmm. At all. I'm no doctor, but it was lots and lots of blood and it's just covering me, you know, running down my back and, and, uh, anyhow, so she screams, where's the bear?

And it dawns on me right there. Heck, she don't know if he's dead or alive. And I scream, he's dead. You know? Come on fast as you can come. Come on. And what I didn't know is down the hill. So you're saying your wife's love is conditional? Well, conditional, yeah. Yeah. Not unconditional. Yeah. My wife's would be too.

It's like, wait a second. Are there any snakes? Have you seen any snakes down there? Right. And, and, oh yeah. Where's that bear? Right. It's like, I don't know. I'm not coming. Right. [01:11:00] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Lets you know how you're right. But, um, she, what? I didn't know this. She was probably just asking cuz she was packing heat.

She wanted to finish it off for you. She didn't have a gun. Oh, that's too bad. No, I have the gun that was in the pickup, so nobody has a gun. I tried to make excuses for her, but I, I, uh, well, and it was a lot of it was the kids. I, I her, her, there's no doubt she did. She'd have gone right in. No, I, I'm, I like to kid with you too.

Yeah. But, um, she was having to fight my daughter, my oldest daughter, Delaney cuz because when I started yelling initially, Delaney just took off. She's coming to save her daddy. Mm-hmm. And so she was, she literally had to subdue her like, to, to hang onto her. To keep her, cuz she knows that I would not want her up there.

Yeah. She, we gotta protect our children. Sure. At the cost of my life. Yeah. Or whatever, you know, obviously. And, um, so, so that was kind of touching, but um, she ended up. Once I said, he's dead, Delaney's a heck of an athlete and is extremely good shape, you know, run the mountains her whole life. So she gets up there before mama and when she kind of topped, there was just a little deal they [01:12:00] topped right there.

Um, like another little drawer or something where she could see me and I'll never forget she could come over. She just goes, ah, and she grabs her mouth when she sees all this cuz I'm just covered in blood. She sees my legs ripped wide open, you know, and here's this dead bear. Mm-hmm. And I have to back up just a second.

All right. This is the cool, I always, I always screw this up, but I, when it started hurting, there's so many things going on here. I, I'm not a good narrator and I, I don't know how to tell it all. You're doing outstanding to flow. Sorry. You got me sitting on the edge of my seat, man. Usually at this point in a podcast, I'm like looking at the clock thinking, when's this gonna be over?

And I can shut up anytime. No, no, no, no, no. You keep rolling, man. Back up at this point. But I had a, I had a mini grip tillian bench made in my pocket. Brand new knife. So it's razor sharp, you know, cause a pocket knife's never sharp. Right. You're, you're using a knife, you're cutting fine or whatever with it.

Sure. And. When I, when, when they were still on their way up, it took 'em just a little bit to get up there. It started hurting so bad. I was just about to go outta my mind, and so I took my [01:13:00] knife and, and articulating skinning lots of bears. You know, I knew, I thought if I can break that atlas joint, I, I could give myself, you know how when you cut one's head off mm-hmm.

When you're skinning him? Mm-hmm. I thought if I could break that, maybe it'll gimme some relief. I don't know what's going on, but I know that, I know that my leg in his mouth, you know, I told you I'd discovered that. So I reached, it's so awkward though. I'm, I'm going over my back and I reach and I stab him right there about where that Atlas joint would be, and I tried to wiggle that knife.

Where's the, explain where the Atlas joint is for Well, if you, people that may be unaware, the knob on the back of your head. Mm-hmm. Like a human. They've got a knob also on the back of their skull, and that's where the what, what's what I think is called, I don't know the scientific term, but the atlas joint is the top.

Vertebrae on the spine that joins the spine to the skull. Yep. That's where all those tendons and muscles tie all that in. Mm-hmm. So that's when you take something's head off, that's what you try to cut through and articulate that and get the tendons cut. Sure. The head comes off. So that's what I had in my mind was I'd loosen that off somehow.

So I stabbed him and I wiggled it around. Well, [01:14:00] when I wiggled it, it moves his whole head and it just was, it would go next level, excruciating. Yeah. So I had to quit, but I left the knife stuck in the back of his head. So Delaney, to hear her tell it, she got there and, and she sees this dead bear laying on the top of me and there's a knife sticking out of the back of his skull.

So she thinks I killed him with my knife. That's, that's where the legend lives on. That's where I screwed up as I, I didn't think quick enough I cleared that up. I was too honest about it and I should have said yeah, cuz nobody would've ever questioned me cuz she gets there and Exactly. You know, I'm dying and the knife in the back of his head.

But anyhow, she gets there and I just told her, I said, do you gotta get something around my leg? I didn't think about my darn leather belt I have on, I carry a tourniquet pretty much everywhere now too. That's a, that's something, anybody listening to this, if you're around firearms in the field, knives, Tourniquets.

You can buy 'em on Amazon. Good ones. And they're easy to use for nothing. I don't care what the cost. And they weigh nothing. They weigh nothing. They take no space in your pack? No, no. They got 'em now where it's like a belt that velcro's [01:15:00] on and it's got a, a handle on it. Absolutely. And it's like turning on, you just lock it in faucet.

They say, I've had doctors, I've asked them, how do you know? And they say, you turn, keep turning until the blood stops and then quit turning and mark the time you've gotta mark. They know they how to rehab the limb. Mm-hmm. Cause if you've gotta go 10 hours like that, they, they need to know that. You gotta know when you put the tourniquet on.

Yeah. So I don't think about my belt. So she takes her shirt off and she's got a sports bra on. I don't really realize that my wife's getting there at this point too now. And she's just like, oh my gosh. You know, cuz they're seeing it. It's, it's apparently, you know, really bad for them to look at. And um, I said, I just said, mama, you gotta, you gotta get my leg tied off.

I'm bleeding to death like I'm pouring blood right now. Okay. So she gets delaney's shirt. Best they can do. And she gets it wrestled under my leg and she gets it cranked off as tight as she can or whatever, and she starts looking and they start trying to pull on the head and getting it off. And I'm just freaking out.

Like, I, I can't control myself. It hurts so bad. It's, it's horrific just laying there. Mm-hmm. But when they move [01:16:00] it, it's ripping on that muscle's already tied as a banjo strength. So they're, they're, they're moving it and it really, really hurts. You had to feel that all the way up into your back and, you know, cuz I mean, your Achilles and all that stuff, it goes all the way, way up.

Yeah. I still have lots of trouble with my Achilles. Yeah. So, yeah, that's all inter It's funny, you learn about the human body through these things. Mm-hmm. But anyhow, they had already called, they'd had my sister call 9 1 1. She's got the three, the, the rest of the other three kids, the three younger ones down there on the hill.

Mama told them not to come. And, uh, she, she's so, I think, yeah, it was Bonnie I think made the initial call to nine one one and they get up there and she goes, I need a phone. I need to get somebody here. Well, they don't have a phone cause the phone's down the hill. As they're messing, they finally have given up.

You know, like, I, I can't handle them moving it. I just said to stop, just please stop. And, and she, Janelle clarified. She thought a lot of blood was coming outta that bear. I just shot him on the top of the head. Right. Yeah. And that's a, they bleed bad. Sure. That's a bleeder. And so while I [01:17:00] was bleeding a lot, it wasn't, I didn't have a major artery torn open yet at all, thank goodness.

Uh, I did not, they could actually see my tibial artery. So when the paramedics got there, they started talking about, they said, we can't touch that. They could see the tibular artery, they could see it pulsating, flowing blood. It was not, it was not punctured though, thank goodness. So anything a stick would've, would've changed that whole deal.

Sure. You know, real quick, just anything to touch that artery. So, She's saying I need a phone. So remember my cell phone? It's up the hill on that little bench right at the edge where he hit me, knocked it outta my hands, and um, my phone starts ringing up the hill. So it's like 30 yards up the hill, something like that.

It's, it starts ringing and Janelle tells Delaney, run up there and get it. So she sprints up that face. She said, it's gotta keep ringing. Right, right. Or she ain't gonna be able to find it. She gets there to it and right as she gets to it, missed call. Right. It's, it's rang enough. It went to voicemail or whatever.

Mm-hmm. So she gets it and she runs back down the hill and she, Janelle [01:18:00] looks, it was Clint Hanson, Clint was the chief here, um, out of the game and fish office. He's retired now. No kidding. Yeah. And I've known him for a long, sure. Long, long time. Good friend. Always got along with him. Great, great guy. And, uh, it was Clint calling because they, anytime wildlife related, they radio to game and fish.

Mm-hmm. You know. Mm-hmm. They're the, um, dispatch is gonna call them in on it cause they know it's involving a bear. Mm-hmm. Well, it comes over dispatch that it's a. 36 year old female. I'm a 38 year old male. My wife's 38, but it's a 30, you know, somewhere that got screwed up with my sister Sure. Or whatever.

Sure, sure. Clint's first thought, cuz knowing the address, he goes, Janelle got attacked by a bear. That's the way he interpreted that number. Sure. He's already in route, but he wants to get ahold of me to see where I'm at. What's going on, what's happening. Yeah. To get some information. Get some information.

So she just calls back immediately and, or he might have called again, I don't remember, but she either called him back or he called again. She answered and she's like, Clint. And he's like, Janelle. And she says, yeah. And she, he says, what happened to you? And she goes, it ain't me, it's Bridger, you know? And she said, Clint, you gotta get here now.

Like he's [01:19:00] this thing's on him and you gotta think on his end how he's hearing all this. Sure. She doesn't say he's dead. She said this thing's on him. It's, and, and, and it's, he can't get away from it. It's just got a hold of his leg, his leg stuck in its mouth and blah, blah, blah, this, that, and the other. So Clint's like, my gosh, what is going, you know, this has gotta be wild.

Like you can imagine what was going through his head. Sure. And so then she calls my brother-in-law. Brad, who's the ranch foreman here now. Mm-hmm. He was, he's my father-in-law's son, so that, that succession on the ranch history there, but Sure. Calls him and they're working at a camp. They were putting a roof or something on a house, and she gets ahold of him.

So he drives Mo 90, he takes off and then there's, there's police coming and, and of course fire and EMS is on their way also. And then Clint, so Clint gets there. Clint's the first on the scene, aside from my family, Clint's the first on the scene. Um, Tyler is running the buggy back and forth to the county road.

Cause we're way off the road, you know? Yeah. Like, they're not gonna find us. And so he's jockeying people out across there, getting 'em there. And then, uh, they all get up there. Clint gets up [01:20:00] there and he starts looking and messing with it. And again, I'm just going, I, I can't, I can't hold it in. I can't, when they start moving it, it was just, I had never felt pain anywhere near that in my life.

And so he starts messing with it and, um, he back, he, he's like, okay, I gotta quit. You know, we're gonna, we gotta get the paramedics here and Ms. Or whatever. And. They all get on scene. Finally, Anthony Burke and, um, Sarah, there was a whole bunch of 'em. Um, but uh, they get up there and they start fooling with it and they can't figure it out.

Clint finally produces a little saw and they cut, you know how the jaws split on the bottom? Mm-hmm. There's a hole in the middle. Mm-hmm. Yeah. They get one side cut off. I'm, I, I'm telling 'em, I'm not trying to talk 'em through it like this, do this, do that, you know? Cause I'm, and, and of course they didn't need me telling 'em, I'm sure.

But Clint gets through one side. But when he is sawing, it's gyrating that thing's head and it's just, I'm just going, I, I'm biting like I'm finding sticks and stuff. Cause I'm thinking my kids are hearing this and I gotta be quiet, you know? Right. I'm stressing them worse. And so I, we're doing all that. My brother-in-law shows up.

He's kind of just watching. Not one of [01:21:00] those guys at the time was qualified to give any medicine. I've never want, I hate. Pain meds, I hate all that kind of stuff. Mm-hmm. I don't like medicine of any kind. I wanted a shot of something bad. Not one of them had the qualifications to give any kind of shot morphine or anything like that.

Right. So I had to just take all that, but they messed with it and messed with it. And then they were talking, you know, different things. Finally, my brother-in-law, he's super quiet and super reserved. They're like, they said, well, we've, we're gonna have to try to take him and the bear off the mountain at the same time.

And he's like, you're gonna, Brad speaks up and I can remember he's like, you're gonna tear his leg off. It's gonna rip his leg off, or it's gonna tear the rest of that artery out. He's, that ain't gonna be good. He, he, he's, he finally like, clear it away and he's, he, uh, he takes my knife and he scores its head off.

So he cuts it down to the bone there and then they finally are able to dig in there at the Atlas joint. Right. And they finally got the head detached. How long did it take him? I'm sorry. They got the body detached. Yeah. And then they had to move the head and they're like, all right, so now, so we're an hour and a half into this.

An hour and a half. So he's full rig mortis. Right. His jaw is so clamped. You know, you know how they get, I [01:22:00] mean, you can't move. Jaws are the first thing to go to rig mortis. I didn't know that. Yep. But yeah, he's locked up. So now they're trying to pull in, they actually had to do a little cutting back there.

Mm-hmm. On me. But they had, it was that or not? Get that thing's head off. Sure. But I'll never forget, I heard a big flack, you know, like something hit the ground and they go, okay, it's off. I, it was zero relief. I kept just dreaming, laying there, just praying like to go to sleep or, and I would try to go to sleep.

I would literally, I like almost meditating, like I was trying to go somewhere else to get away from that pain. And, um, Every time I would act like I was kind of asleep or you know, I just had my eyes shut and I would try to be just as still as I could. My wife starts screaming at me, don't go to sleep.

You know, cuz in those situations you're not supposed to let someone go to sleep. Mm-hmm. That's what we're always told she would get after me. You know, I hear the head come off, there's no relief. None. I can't even tell they got it off. Mm-hmm. It's just so much pain. It's unreal. Not as bad as when they were jerking on it, but it's not any relief.

So they, they get me turned over, they've got me tourniqueted, they've got, um, you know, they bandage some [01:23:00] stuff up there. Um, they get me on the. They have like a mountain gurney they call it. Yeah. This little lightweight thing. Mm-hmm. So there's like four six of 'em or something. Get on there. There's some other cowboys have showed up.

Now my sister-in-law's there with all their kids, little Rachel that you know, got you strapped to the board. Yeah. They're all in the bottom. They're not with us. But then they go walking on. I'll never forget one of those guys I kept, I start telling 'em, I said, watch the cactus. Cause they're kind of stumbling going off the hill.

And one of those guys, the, one of the paramedics, I don't remember his name, he fell flat into a big old p cactus. Oh. And as he stood up and they start carrying me again, I'm reaching over and I'm pulling thorns out of his butt. Cuz he's just, he looks like a porcupine. You Right. He just sat in a giant grove, a pair, you know?

Sure. So they take me down off the hill and there's a. They start talking and I can actually hear it. There's a Hilo coming in and, and it dawns on me. They called a life flight in, well that same Mesa Losser January before this July. There was a helicopter crash up there that I hiked up and had to [01:24:00] find.

Hmm. Nobody could find it. It was in the middle of the night. Five people died, two of 'em Right. Kind of in my hands. And the others were burned today. It was something no one should have to see. Right. And I vowed right there. I'd never get in a helicopter again. So now I'm already starting to argue about, I said, I'm not getting in a helicopter.

And they just kind of blow me off like they're trained to do and Right. So the ambulance was down the hill. They put me in the ambulance and um, They land the Hilo right there at the edge of the mesa and the two flight nurses get off. These are paramedics, you know? Sure. Like high level paramedics. Yeah.

And they get off and they start running, you know, they, they're running IV stuff. Sure. I'm arguing with her. I said, I, ma'am, I'm not, I'm not going to get on the helicopter. I'm telling you right now, I'm not gonna do that. I thought, man, I've been close enough already today and I'm not getting big thunderheads coming in in the evening.

They were gonna take me to Denver and actually had to reroute the Albuquerque because they could, the storm, we had to wait so long there, they had to wait so long there we couldn't get to Denver. So they're messing around and, um, She's running this stuff and, uh, he pokes his head in the other flight nurse cuz he's talking to the pilot.

He said, [01:25:00] we gotta go now like the pilot's hollering because the storm is moving in. Mm-hmm. And he wants to be off the ground and outta here. And I, and she goes, okay, I'm about done. And I said, ma'am, I just told you I'm not getting on that thing or on that helicopter. And she said, she just said verbatim.

She said, honey, you don't have a choice. And she just started sliding that juice into me and put you out. Ah. It didn't knock me out, but I, it, it's like, okay. It just, yeah, it made me not combative, you know, right about it at all. And so they, uh, they got me out of there and I'm sure I'm missing stupid details somewhere, but they got me out of there and they finally loaded me on the chopper and they had the turn because they're heavy now.

And it's crazy. I don't know how they'd take a real big, I mean, I'm six one and I, I don't, I I, they just barely got me in that. Mm-hmm. So a big dude, I don't know how they'd get him in there, but they got off. And the pilot, he knew what he was doing. He is a military pilot. Martinez was his name. He turned around and he just got it barely off the ground to start diving down into that valley.

Just barely off the ground. So everybody there was like, they're gonna crash that thing's fixing to crash. Well, alls he was doing is he's building [01:26:00] forward air speed door. He can create lift. Yeah. And he gets up out of there. That's exactly what he did. But everybody watching it was thinking, man, he is, he ain't gonna make it through today yet.

So anyways, they got me on the Hilo and uh, I was horrified off and on all the way down through there, uh, from the helicopter, right. They threw, flew me to unm, which turned out good. They have a level one trauma center. It's the best in the Southwest. They say, of course, Albuquerque. They get lots of practice.

That's awesome. You know, it's pretty, lots of crime and stuff. But they got me there and I remember 'em, I remember getting there. They landed and they wheeled me in the hospital and I got to see one of the ladies pagers. That work in the emergency room and it actually set on their incoming life flight bear maing victim or bear attack or something like that.

So everybody in the hospital was there to see this. Yeah. You know I got more than the normal crew cause everybody's So you're, you're spying on the, the pager on the No, I saw that cuz a marine buddy of mine from Albuquerque was dating that girl. Oh. That was just coincidentally. And he showed me the picture of her pager and that's what it said.

So they're all, I had a huge welcoming party getting there and then the [01:27:00] doctors come flooding out to me and they start poking around on my leg and uh, I I would just freak out cause it still hurt, you know, whenever they would push on it and they said we, I remember 'em just saying like, get prep him for surgery right now.

We gotta knock him out. We're not gonna be able to touch this thing until we gotta go into surgery anyways. Yeah. I can see my bone and all the meats hanging off the back of my leg. And um, I remember waking up and my wife was there. And I had been in surgery for four hours. They, um, there was 35, 35 inches of laceration.

Um, it was well over 200 stitches and staples. They had to sew three layers of meat. They kinda layer it back cuz there's layers in your leg. Mm-hmm. They had to do that. They had to reattach my gastroc to, to the bone basically. And then my hamstring was pretty much detached. They had to reattach all that stuff and then sew all that back up there.

So I was in trauma for seven days. The worst deal, the, the most life-threatening thing outta the whole deal was the, uh, the big rips like on my calve and stuff like that. Mm-hmm. They were big, long [01:28:00] lacerations. That's okay. Cuz they can flush those out. They can irrigate 'em for, they have literally a little pressure washer.

Yeah. And they blow all that out with some kind of sterile chemical and, but I have these big singular bite marks in my inner thigh and, you know, that thing's canines or what, you know, on a big bear like that they're. What, two and a half, three inches or so? Yeah. Well, he's biting, so he's crushing 'em down in there four inches, you know, or something like that.

They sewed all those shut, they just closed those up. They flushed 'em best they could, and then they showed 'em up and then they, I forget the name of the antibiotic they put me on. But, uh, in about a day, in about 24 hours, I start getting this red cloud spreading over my leg. So they start tracing it with a sharpie measure measure, literally trace over my leg, and then by the hour it would outgrow those lines by an inch.

Mm-hmm. And it's just cloud, like a big storm cloud building. It's just building. And I mean like roasted hog red. It was not a normal, I had never seen that, you know, you a little infection. You don't have to be a doctor to look down at this is at your own leg and say, right, this isn't right. It's like, Gus on Lonesome Dove is what I, I thought of him [01:29:00] actually like, oh yeah.

And you know, like mm-hmm. And it starts billing well, they can't figure it out. So there's a lot of people that are like checking in on me and they're trying to see what's going on with Janelle. And I've got Game and Fish Buddies and Kyle Jackson. Text my phone cuz Janelle was manning my phone and her phone.

And he said, make sure his team, his doctor team calls this doctor Dr. Joe Bergman. He's out of Bozeman. He's the foremost authority on bear attack treatment in the world. So they'll fly people from Alaska to this guy. He's this, well of course they're around there, they get lots of practice, they're grizzly up at Yellowstone.

Somebody's mulled every day right up there. Um, so they, I, one of them, the team's in and out of there, they're really, really, uh, I don't, they're not panicky. They don't ever panic, but they're really, really concerned about this. There's people in and out like all the time, and they've got me a le almost lethal levels of this other antibiotic that they treat a dog bite with a mountain lion bite.

Mm-hmm. Any kind of really deal that, that treats this and, and is effective. But they can't [01:30:00] figure out why this infection's spreading. And so, They, I tell 'em, you gotta call this doctor. I give 'em the number. She writes it down, but we know how doctors can be and here's this redneck here on the bed. Sure.

Trying to tell us where we do. They're blow me off. Right? Yeah. So in a, in a few hours, I, they come in and I had talked, I think my wife had talked to Kyle and Kyle said, you make dang sure they call this Bergman cuz he had been to workshops they do with game and Fish people Yeah. On, on treatment of this kind of stuff.

Right. And so I, I'm, I one of them come in again or the doctor or somebody, and I said, look, y'all call that doctor. They said, we've got him on the phone right now. We had to vet him, we had to vet him and make sure his, his credentials and things like that. Mm-hmm. And they've got him on the phone. So he tells them immediately the antibiotic that I'm on their IV is not, won't treat that.

So bears have this chemical, uh, bacteria in their body and I can't remember. It's, it's a. 25 letter word. You know, just, I can't remember what it is, but you know how bears can be so wormy and eat rotten. Mm-hmm. Disgusting things. Mm-hmm. But they still thrive. They have great body [01:31:00] condition where a deer or a horse or a dog, they'll die under those kind of parasite loads where a bear will thrive.

This. Okay. Um, bacteria lives, trinos those systems? No, it's not Trinos. Okay. That's a different deal. Okay. It's just some bacteria that's in their system that allows them to go ahead and do fine. Yeah. Under giant parasite loads. Sure. But that create, I thought infections. Infection. Infection, just an infection.

Well, that's not the case. There's different types of infections that bacteria makes. A whole different infection. Than a dog bite, a lion bite, any anything Sure. Like that. Yeah. That's why they can't treat it. And he told him, he wanted to know, they, they showed him pictures. They, he wanted to know exactly how they did everything.

And he said, okay, all those singular holes, you've gotta open them back up. He said, that's wrong. He said, normally I talked to this doctor. I called him to thank him like six months later. He said he would've connected the dots with a scalpel. He'd just cut 'em all, just file me open between them so he could irrigate it more and leave them open.

So he, he says, you gotta get 'em on Vancomycin. I do remember [01:32:00] that. Yeah. And that's something, it blew my doctor's minds. They're like, we can't, I mean, that's stuff's lethal. And that's for like severe staph infections, if I remember right? Mm-hmm. Again, I'm not a doctor, but they, they put me on that to where they have to test my blood like every four hours because if it goes just to tick over to kill you.

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's wicked, wicked stuff, right? So they're keep testing your blood and they put me on this drip and the worst thing. I still think the worst pain of the entire thing. So I'm probably over 24 hours, approaching 48 hours. They come in with a big team again and they have to take those stitches out of those singular bites.

Stitches don't hurt, right? Mm-hmm. Right. We've all had stitches pulled. I pulled 'em out myself. I pull your own stitches that you just slide 'em out. Yeah. It's like, come back in 14 days and we'll take the stitches out. Right. Thanks doc. Never see you again. Right, right. Well, let me tell you something. These sunblocks hurt.

Like, I don't know if it was just cuz it was so fresh or maybe cuz of the infection. Just the stitches and they, they kept putting me on morphine. They'd gimme like, I think it's two milligrams at, I think you can take up to eight after that. It'll kill you. Yeah. So you can do that. I got through the [01:33:00] stitches.

She got them pulled out. But now it's growing back together. Right. It's been like 48 hours. So those wounds are already closed up. They're scabbed up and they're closing up and she had to break those open with her fingers. And then she'd take one of those big long Q-tip wooden handle things and Oh yeah.

And she had to shove them in and out of those holes, you know, three, four inches, inches down in my leg and scrub it to reopen ur the wound so they could get 'em opened up and then pack 'em. And when she run that thing in and out of those holes in my leg, I ca I can't, I just can't describe to you. And so I was under as much morphine as they could give me.

I, I hated that stuff. I don't, but, um, they just kept giving it to me until they couldn't anymore, because I couldn't, I wouldn't have felt it very long. I'd have passed out. Yeah. I want, I kept, and that whole day, even on the Baril, I want it, I was like praying to pass out. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, she finally got through that.

So she had to, they took, and then they'd pack it with like a ribbon. Yeah. Every day. My wife had to pack it for about two weeks or three weeks after we got home, but it kept getting shallower and they got me off that. So I finally, they [01:34:00] got me to where the infection got under control and they got me up one time in the hospital and walk.

And when I'd get up and then the blood flow would go back to the leg, it would turn like, Bizarre colors. Hmm. And, uh, well, the big thing they figured out though is I, they started doing some, um, orthopedic stuff and I had no feeling zero. I had a little bit on the bottom of my foot and, uh, on like the front of my shin.

So they did these things where they make you close your eyes and they poke you, like with a, like, with an ink pen. Mm-hmm. And they, they said, well, this is, this isn't important at this point, but he's got some severe nerve damage. And, uh, that's right over your popal junction they call it, where your, your, um, sciatic branches off mm-hmm.

Into your tibial and your perineal nerves, which are serious, serious nerves, you know? Yeah. Control all your s so you're trying to walk around, you don't have any feeling in your feet. So that's, well, they didn't want me putting weight on it anyways. I didn't put any weight. I was crutching. Mm-hmm. But they got, they wanted to get me up once.

Yeah. And so I did that. And, um, anyways, that's, that's pretty much it. I spent about three months in bed [01:35:00] and, um, I atrophied. It's unreal. I still don't feel like I'm. I was never like a big stout guy, but I mean, you lose so much muscle tone, it's just unbelievable. Mm-hmm. That was hard to kind of overcome in itself.

And, um, that's, that's it pretty much. I guess there's a lot of other little finite You mean you don't have any other story? You haven't got a story better than that? Holy smoke, man. Seriously, I have. I've, you could see it on my face. I mean, I'm just like hanging on every word here and sitting on the edge of my seat.

I've never heard a story like that before. That's crazy. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So it was wild. I wish it wouldn't have happened. Well, sure, yeah. Yeah. It would be a cool story if it wasn't for the nerves. Mm-hmm. And that's, that's the stuff I, I do fine. I ski and I can hike. I've gotta have some serious Kenna trucks.

Done an amazing job building me some custom footwear. And, uh, they've been, I, I a shout out to Kenreck, like, like they're an amazing company and, and, um, done some great things for me. And [01:36:00] so to hike I gotta do that. And I, I, I've been through lots of surgeries since we've done nerve engraftment. None of the nerves would ever come back, cuz they were like seven centimeters missing where he just ripped it out completely.

Yeah. So that won't regenerate from that far. But the end deal, I did a tibial tendon transfer. And it's just a jury rigging is all it is. They just take some tendons that are kind of working, cut 'em off, cut the ones that aren't working off, and then they cross 'em over and tie 'em up and they basically cinch them up to hold my foot in a neutral position.

Cuz I had to wear a giant AFO brace for four years, three and a half years. No kidding. And that brace stunk, you know, and I get all kinds of weird looks. Sure. And I'm very self-conscious about it, honestly, like with a brace. Cuz you're like, I'm like this guy that like, I can't be hurt. Right. Like all of us were invincible, you know?

Sure. And then now when you catch people and they're like staring at you and it wasn't a real big deal, but I didn't like it at all. Mm-hmm. And, uh, I have just an unbelievable foot drops. My foot just hung, I can't twitch my toes, I still can't. But they've, for lack of better term, sort of welded it in a, in a neutral position there where I don't have to wear a brace all the time.

Yeah. But if I get on uneven [01:37:00] ground and stuff, I have to, I really didn't, you know, when we were outside and walking around here, I, I did. Yeah. What have they noticed? Level, ground level ground's? No big deal. It's just balance I struggle with Cause nothing reacts. Yeah. You know, your body's so intricate and when you have stuff that's just not functioning, especially in your foot, ankle, and leg, it just, uh, so I got, I use trek and Poles where I can, I did, I used to think those were for hippie birdwalk.

They're hippie sticks. I, but, but now you need 'em. I like them. And I'll tell you some, somebody else that needs 'em when you turn, when you hit 50 years old mm-hmm. And you start closing in on that mid fifties. Yeah. You don't have the flexibility and stuff. So when I'm carrying loads or even without a load walking through this country, yeah.

I used to just be able to skip through, you know, it's just like jump from rock to rock. Yeah. And, and now it's like you're measuring every step because things don't flex and bend and it's weird. So I can only imagine what you're going through. That's right. So it, it works and I can, I'm blessed beyond belief and um, it can always be worse.

You look. Sure. I'll [01:38:00] never forget and I'll shut up. But, um, In the hospital whenever they told me that I had all this crazy nerve damage and you know, nothing was ever gonna be, I was lucky to have my leg when I got on the helicopter. They told my wife, they said he is, we would just wanna prepare you that the, because all the meat had gone just ash and gray, like all my muscle had, cuz they'd been exposed for an hour and a half.

Mm-hmm. And almost two hours. And they, they just told him, they, they told her, they said he's, that he, he'll probably lose his leg. Mm-hmm When he wakes up in Albuquerque, his leg is gonna be gone. So it could always been worse there, you know. Sure. For sure. And, and uh, so I'm laying there in bed and uh, I'm feeling sorry for myself and I look out and there's a car crash lady.

Man, the Hilo comes in and out all night life flights. Right. There was one night, there were seven gunshots coming into that hospital. Through life flight. It was unreal. Wow. Yeah. I say, like I say, they get a lot of practice, but mm-hmm. There was a lady come walking down the hall and like in her mid thirties that her leg was gone from the thigh down because of the, uh, car crash.

Yeah. And I thought, you miserable son of a gun. You know, you can't, don't be feeling sorry for yourself, you know? Right. Cause somebody's always got it a [01:39:00] lot worse. Mm-hmm. So, in the great grand scheme of things, I'm fine. I'm totally fine. You guys, do you do the Freedom Hunters events here? We do, yeah. We have, and we do in Colorado.

So you've, so you've had veterans here. Yeah. Double amputees Yeah. And things like that. So it's really easy. It gives you some, gives you some, yeah. And they've got great attitudes, you know about it. Yeah. And like I say, I've ultimately, I've got my family Sure. You know, which is, you know, I'm a rich man, you know, by that standard.

That's how I see that. So, um, yeah, it's, it's been quite a ride, you know, and there's been a lot of adverse things with it too. Sure. But, um, the medicine, the gabapentin for the nerve pain changed me, like my family, it caused problems actually because my poor wife, she's like, I mean, she's got her spot etched out in heaven, no doubt.

Just from hell here on Earth, like the Marty Robbins song. Um, yeah. You know. Um, but, uh, it, it does a lot with your nervous system to reroute things to where you don't feel that that nerve pain was incredible. Like every night it would just go to just, it felt like somebody was screwing a screw into the side of your foot.

And, um, [01:40:00] it would, it, but that, that stuff is crazy that, that. And it, yeah, it just mentally I'd start crying at the drop of a hat or I would get violently mad or there was just, there was, I was super unstable. I've heard, I've heard weird stuff about gabapentin. I thought, and it wasn't the bear deal, so like the PTSD Sure.

Type thing they talk about or what So much of that, I don't mean that like it was, I thought something like that was related, but it was once I was able, and you gotta wean yourself off that it takes a period of weeks. It's, that's crazy stuff. Hmm. Wicked side effects. Yeah. And I don't feel like it helped that much anyways, but I was at the point, I don't care about the pain.

I, I gotta get off of this stuff. And it's not like a opiate, it's not an addictive thing at all. At, at all. It's not like you get high from it or nothing, but it was, it was just not, it was terrible for me. So, yeah, they. Been a, been a wild few years. Well, Bridger, I'm gonna tell you what, man, I don't know how we're ever gonna top a story like that on this podcast.

That was, uh, that was outstanding. It was amazing. I appreciate you taking time. Yeah. You're a busy guy. Yeah. We've been [01:41:00] trying to playing phone tag for last 10 days, trying to get this lined up and You bet. And, uh, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate it, but, uh, yeah, I'm, I'm glad to hear you're still, you know, you're still getting after it and, and, um, still got the Lion dogs anyway, right?

You know? Yeah, yeah. That side of it we go. It was rough catching the first bear. Me and John went up in Colorado and Yeah. Um, I'm not gonna lie, it was like hearing everything treed and all that stuff, and like, it, it was, uh, and I put my hands on the first one, the first one of the fall. We killed that next fall.

It was a big old nasty bear. Yeah. Bore missing like an ear, you know, and bait on the ground. And he was baiting the willow, thick it, so I don't mean a little thick, I mean Yeah. Bad thick. And yeah. It was really hard to overcome that, you know, like, I'm not gonna lie, it was very difficult, but I got to where I, I, they still scared me a lot more than I have more respect for 'em than I do.

Mm-hmm. Lions still didn't, don't bother me, you know, like, but the bears was different. Sure. For sure. So we get, we, I, I definitely hunted lots and lots of bears since then, [01:42:00] so Yeah. A lot of people think that's why I, I've slowed down on the hound hunting deal with the bears, but it has nothing to do with it.

I hunted them for four years after that, or three years after that. Sure. And so it's just the turn life's taken, I guess, right now, so. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. Well, I'm gonna wrap. Let's, you're about ready to wrap this up. You got a bunch, whatever. Got a bunch of little, I need to, got a bunch of kids running around here and, uh, yeah, uh, again, I can't tell you how, how grateful I am for you carving out time outta your busy schedule, Bridger.

Yeah, for sure. So, yeah, we got Bridger Petrin and we're sitting at the to ranch headquarters and we just heard an most epic story I've ever heard. And, uh, so thanks for tuning into this episode of the Hound Men XP podcast. Make sure you check out all of our gear over on our, uh, website@houndsmenxp.com, t-shirts, hats, decals, all that kind of stuff is right there.

Check out our sponsors and make sure you, uh, are supporting them as well because they support us [01:43:00] and we are the voice for fair Chase Hounds. Thanks for listening to the Homan XP podcast. This is fair chase.