Grizzly bear attacks hunter in mountains north of Yellowstone

A grizzly bear sunk her teeth into an elk hunter's arm and clawed his eye on Saturday after he surprised the sow and her cub north of Yellowstone National Park, according to the victim.

Bob Legasa, 57, and his hunting buddy were walking toward some elk in Livingston when he heard a cub growl. Shortly after, the cub's mother ran full speed in his direction.

"I was hoping it was going to be a bluff charge, and halfway through I realized it was going to be the real deal," he said.

He told the Coeur d'Alene Press that the bear weighed about 500 pounds. He said he braced for impact like a football player. The bear attempted to hug him and latched on to his arm.

"I was knocked over on my butt and at that point I was kicking and screaming trying to move her away."

His buddy sprayed at the bear with bear spray and inadvertently hit Legasa twice.

"I had blood in my eyes and bear spray in my eyes and I couldn't see a damn thing," he said. "We were putting snow and water in our eyes, trying to get relief."

The bear eventually relented.

The bear's response was normal for a sow with a cub encountering a human at close range, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said in a statement Monday. Legasa asked that the bear not be put down.

Legasa said the experience won't put him off hunting, a hobby since he was a teenager, but he said he will be more cautious in the future.

"I'm always going to have my hunting partner close, and reposition where I carry my bear spray so I can grab it with both hands," he said.

Legasa posted an update of his condition on Facebook.

"All in all I am in good shape. My arm is screwed up a little and sore and the vision is good, I will be fine," he said in his post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.