Bear in forest
Photo by critterbiz/

Washington state man survives second bear attack on the same running trail

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They say lightening never strikes the same place twice, but apparently bear attacks do.Earlier this month, a particularly unlucky Washington state man was attacked by a bear on a popular running trail—the same spot he was attacked by one four years prior.

The man, who only wants to be identified as Bob, sustained more than 40 bites, gashes to his face, scratches to his back and chest, and severe bruising.

Bob was running with his dog Abby in a forest near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a military base stationed an hour south of Seattle, when the two encountered the bear. Abby startled the black bear, which was hiding in the trees. The bear immediately began charging in their direction. Bob quickly grabbed a four-foot tree branch for protection and braced himself for the impending assault.

“It was just running straight for me,” Bob told KOMO News. “The dog went running by me, and I just had déjà vu.”

“[The bear] would whip around, do this 180 and go for my legs, my shoulders, my head, and just come in and bite me again, and I would just try to nail it when it came in,” Bob said.

After trying to fight off the bear with his stick, Bob decided his only chance at survival was to “play dead,” hoping that the bear would eventually get bored and wander away. His plan worked. The bear moved along and Bob was found by other runners and taken to a nearby hospital.

Bob will likely have a new array of scars from this attack to go along with the ones he acquired in the 2011 attack.

Bob and his facial injuries.
Bob and his facial injuries. Photo courtesy of KOMO News.That time, Bob was running along the same trail with Abby once again. But he didn’t have time to grab a weapon.

“It sort of jumped at me, grabbed me by my belly and my rear end and took me down, bit me and mauled me a couple times,” he says of the 2011 attack.  “I just rolled up in a ball and stayed still.”

“The odds of being attacked once are very slim,” said Sgt. Ted Jackson, a wildlife officer with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, in an interview with KOMO. “The odds of being attacked twice, I would say it’s impossible, last week. But it happened. I just can’t calculate the odds of being attacked once, let alone twice.”

Six days after the attack, local wildlife officers tracked down the aggressive, 300-pound bear and killed it.

Even though a third attack is unlikely, knowing his luck, Bob isn’t going to chance it. He’s promised his fiancée and his mother he won’t be running on the trail again.

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