Man who survived bear attack shares experience to save lives

Local News

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Following a deadly bear attack in Colorado, a Jefferson County man who survived an attack is speaking out. Jon Johnson is hoping his story will help others who might encounter a bear.

In August of 2019 Johnson and his significant other were in their Pine home having dinner and watching a movie when they heard noises.

“We heard something upstairs, and we thought maybe it was a raccoon,” Johnson said.

He went to investigate and made noise to scare off what he thought was a raccoon. He soon found himself face-to-face with a bear in his own home

Exterior surveillance video showed the bear and her two cubs. The mother bear was able to use her claw to carefully open a screen door used to allow airflow in the home.

“I got real big and started growling and making noise,” Johnson recalled.

He said the bear turned to leave but then her cubs walked in.

“That’s when she turned back and swatted me in the nose,” he said. “So I turned around, and I hit her in the nose.”

His partner was able to use her baseball bat to hit the bear in the head. The bear then left. 

What’s important from this 2019 story is the lesson learned. 

“I believe by me playing the alpha … remaining big, and making a lot of noise, she never got up on her hind legs,” Johnson said. “But she was able to scratch my arms.”

Officials say people should first try to avoid bears and keep plenty of distance. But those who are under attack, should fight back. Getting big and loud will help.

“If I hadn’t … paid attention to my neighbor telling me to get big and be aggressive 12 years ago, I may not be here,” Johnson said.

It’s important to use bear safe trash cans in bear country. People will carry bear spray and sound horns on hikes— devices made to annoy and irritate bears.

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