Oregon hunter survives bear mauling - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon hunter mauled by bear: 'I just held on'

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Alex Machado Alex Machado

An Oregon hunter checking on a bear he shot was suddenly grabbed by the animal and pulled into a bear hug Thursday afternoon.

Alex Machado, 22, and his friend, Nathan Shinn, were deer hunting off Elk Creek Road in Southern Oregon when they spotted a bear.

One of the hunters shot the bear, and the two carefully tracked it for about one mile before it laid down in a meadow, Jackson County Sheriff's deputies said.

As Machado approached, the bear suddenly woke up and grabbed him, deputies said. The bear started biting Machado on his hand, forearm and inner thigh, before pulling him into a bear hug and then they rolled down a 50-foot embankment.

Machado, who was a wrestler in high school, had the 400-pound bear in a headlock at one point, he told FOX 12.

"It helped out a little bit, I guess," he said of his wrestling background. "It was just kind of natural instinct to just grab it. I mean, I wasn't really thinking, I guess. Just wanting to stay alive."

Deputies said the bear continued to bite Machado as they tumbled down the embankment. Shinn followed them, and eventually, he shot the bear in the head, killing him.

The two friends then walked back up the ridge, and Shinn left to go seek help.

"Honestly, the only thing I was thinking was, 'I can't die like this,'" Machado said. "I was just trying to, you know, stick with it and I just held on."

With his friend gone, Machado started to walk further uphill. Within 10 minutes, a Jackson County Sheriff's Office lieutenant came upon the wounded Machado, who was heading down a spur road off Elk Creek Road.

Machado was rushed to an area where a Mercy Flight helicopter landed and then took him to a Southern Oregon hospital. He needed stitches, but didn't suffer any broken bones.

Shinn was found about one hour later, uninjured, deputies said.

Despite being mauled, Machado was able to post a Facebook status update Thursday night, thanking friends and family for their get well wishes.

"Some of you may have heard about my encounter with a black bear earlier today," Machado wrote. "I'm so grateful for everyone's prayers and support, thank you everyone! I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing friend to help me get out of a sticky situation! =] Spent the day in the trauma room and the docs fixed me right up, assuring me a speedy recovery! Gnight!"

Deputies recommend hunters approach wounded animals from the front "and be ready to kill the animal if it isn't dead yet."

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