ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- An Alaska man who was mauled by a bear before his father came to his rescue was being treated at Juneau hospital for deep bite wounds on his arm and leg, the father said Friday.
Casey Bradford, 21, was in good spirits but in a lot of pain a day after the brown bear attack near the Chilkat River, according to his father, 55-year-old Scott Bradford of Haines.
"I saw this brown thing chasing him," Bradford said. "My first thought was that it was a moose."
Bradford said he ran toward the bear and fired a shot over its head after it tackled his son. The spooked bear ran off as Bradford took better aim and fired again. He doesn't know if he struck the animal.
The attack occurred Thursday evening while the father and son were about 30 yards apart as they scouted a moose during a hunting outing. The light was fading when Casey Bradford suddenly started yelling and running toward his father.
After the attack, the younger Bradford was in pain but not bleeding profusely, his father said.
The pair made their way to their boat about a mile away. It was difficult for Casey Bradford to walk, but the adrenaline kept them going.
It was dark when they reached the boat. It took a short ride to reach their vehicle, and then it was a 25-mile drive to the Haines clinic.
Casey Bradford was flown to Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital by the Coast Guard.
Scott Bradford went home, and spent a sleepless night wondering about all the what-ifs.
"There were a lot of things going through my mind all night," he said. "If that bear would have attacked him a few minutes before, this would be a different story."
Scott Bradford said he and his son have often gone hunting without each other.
"We're not doing that anymore," he said. "We'll be standing shoulder to shoulder from now on when we're hunting."
Authorities planned to return Friday to the scene of mauling to look for the bear. Responders also planned to post signs warning about an aggressive brown bear in the area.
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