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Bear nearly bites off camper's ear in Mont.

June 24, 2010 12:17:44 AM PDT
An man from Ellensburg, Washington, says he holds no hard feelings against the bear who almost bit his ear off during a camping trip in Montana.Rob Holmes and his friend Brandon drove to Montana Sunday to go camping and fishing. He says he's an avid camper and knows the procedure to keep bears out of campsites, which is why he was shocked to wake up with a bloody ear and bear teeth marks on his tent.

Early Monday morning, Rob felt a tug on his ear while sleeping in his tent. He started yelling to scare away whatever just bit him, which turned out to be a bear.

His friend woke up and shined a flashlight on Holmes, to see the side of his head bloodied.

"So I knew I'd been hurt but I didn't know how bad. Then when I looked at it and I'm like, 'Oh.'" said Holmes.

He was rushed bleeding to the hospital in Missoula, where he needed 21 stitches to reattach the bottom of his ear.

"I was in shock about the whole thing but it was just surreal. The whole time we were joking about, you know, 'did that really just happen?'" said Holmes.

"I've never heard of nothing like this happening to anyone," said his camping buddy Brandon.

Even though doctors told Holmes that he is lucky to be alive and his ear is still recovering, the two campers have no qualms with the bear.

"It was just a bear doing what a bear does. I mean, I got a dog out back that puts his mouth on everything too because he's curious," said Holmes.

For these outdoorsmen, the self-described "nick" on Holmes' ear won't turn them away from going back and doing what they love.

"It could happen to anyone, I mean, lightning doesn't strike twice. It's not gonna change, we'll still go back out there," said Brandon.

Montana Fish and Wildlife officials say some food at another campsite may have triggered the bear's behavior. They have since closed down the campsite as they attempt to catch the bear responsible.


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