Grand Teton National Park grizzly bear attack survival story.
Grand Teton National Park grizzly bear attack survival story.

“Sunday afternoon I was attacked by a mother Grizzly protecting her cub. It was the most violent thing I have ever experienced. I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions. I am a disabled Veteran in the Army reserve.” -Shayne Patrick

An incredible story of survival by 35-year-old Shayne Patrick who was mauled by a grizzly bear in Grand Teton Nation Park on May 19th. Shayne published the following account from his hospital bed where he is recovering from his injuries. This is his story in his own words:


I’ve thought long and hard about how I would share my story about my encounter with a female grizzly and her cub.

Let me preface this with how much I love and respect wildlife. Anyone who knows me, knows this about me. In fact, the second thing I said to the park rangers was please don’t kill the bear, she was defending her cub. What happened up on Signal Mountain was a case of wrong place wrong time.

Sunday afternoon I was attacked by a mother Grizzly protecting her cub. It was the most violent thing I have ever experienced. I’ve experienced being shot at, mortared and IED explosions. I am a disabled Veteran in the Army reserve.

I was walking through the woods on signal mountain looking to photograph a Great Grey Owl. My wife and I had learned that this was a hot spot for the species and I was hopeful I’d see one. I told my wife I would be back at the parking lot in one hour.

At the time of the attack about 1.25 hours had passed. At this point I knew she would be getting worried so I decided to B-line it back to the car using my GPS in my phone. Due to poor service I could only see the parked identification on the GPS and my current location.

I started to walk fast to that location. I had a really uncomfortable feeling. I was breaking branches, singing and talking to myself aloud. These are something’s that can help prevent a “surprise encounter” with a brown bear.

I was walking through a thick wooded area in a valley. I over came a feature in the slope to my right and I noticed a brown bear cub running up a hill about 50-70 yards in front of me. I knew this wasn’t good, I unholstered my bear spray and saw the mother bear charging. I stood my ground, shouted and attempted to deploy the bear spray but as I did she already closed the gap.

When she pounced I opted to turn and give her my back and I laid down in the prone position on my belly and braced for the ride, interlocking my hands behind my neck to protect my vitals. The first bite and slash was on my back / right shoulder.

I screamed. She then turned, stepping on my back. She bit one of my legs, picking me up and slamming me on the ground multiple times.she bit each leg from my buttocks to my inner knee about three times each. The final time I screamed again. Then unfortunately but fortunately turned her attention to my head. I believe she went in for a kill bite on my neck.

I still had my hands interlocked and my arms protecting my carotid arteries. I never let go of the bear spray can. As she bit my hands in the back of my neck she simultaneously bit the bear spray can and it exploded in her mouth. This is what saved my life from the initial attack. I heard her run away, I looked up and instantly ran in the opposite direction up a hill.

Once I put some distance between me and the bear, I attempted to call my wife. It didn’t go through, so I texted “attacked”. She called me back and I told her what happened as I applied improvised tourniquets to my legs. At this point I knew that I didn’t have any arterial bleeds and I just needed to slow the bleeding in my legs.

I laid alone in the woods gripping my knife with my back to a tree just hoping the bear wasn’t to return. Through the phone call with 911 the helicopter was able to triangulate my location since the spotty service wasn’t giving us an accurate location. At this point my legs were not really working

Once the helicopter spotted me I tried to crawl to a clearing so they could reach me easier. At this time the first ranger showed up and started his assessment. Hypothermia was one of the biggest concerns at this point. I was alert and responsive.

They field dressed my wounds and airlifted me out of the woods. They lowered me into the parking lot near signal mountain and loaded me on to the ambulance where they transported me to St. John’s hospital in Jackson, Wyoming. I underwent a quick surgery to clean and staple wounds and combat infection.

The number one thing that kept me alive during the attack was reading and understanding what to do in the event of a bear attack and being prepared with the bear spray. Though I am not sure if I got to spray any at the bear, having it on me and keeping it in my hands while protecting my vitals 100% is the only reason I am telling my story now.

Secondly, though ill prepared for a medical emergency (I always have an IFAK on me but this was meant to be a short walk in the roadside woods so I only brought my small day pack, Bino harness and fanny pack). Though I’ve had many CLS classes in the army and I know stopping the bleeding is one of the most important fundamentals my wife was on the phone helping talk through using what I had on me. I cut my back pack straps, camera straps and used my fanny pack straps all to make improvised tourniquets to slow the bleeding.

Unfortunately my legs both had multiple puncture wounds. In this moment, I accepted on that small hill top that I very well could die. I recorded a short video telling my people that I loved them.

The biggest shoutout to the Jenny lake rangers who saved my life too. The Teton SAR are considered one of the most elite SAR groups in NA and I was so thankful they were there to help.

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