Former deputy survives grizzly bear attack in Wyoming

David Goodrich
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A retired sheriff's deputy survived a grizzly bear attack while hunting out west last week.

Former Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy David Goodrich was hunting in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming when he was injured by a bear.

"It's a large predator area. There's bears, there's wolves, there's all that stuff out there," said Goodrich, who now lives in Lafayette.

He has been hunting for 34 years, so he prepares for the danger. But last week, just south of Yellowstone, he came face-to-face with danger and somehow survived.

"We were bow hunting for elk," he said. "It's a wild animal, so nothing's predictable."

The attack by a 600-pound grizzly left him with a metal rod that runs the length of his leg. Goodrich was with another bow hunter and a guide, when he had that gut feeling that something was wrong.

"Something caught my eye and from behind me, a large bear came out of the woods," he said. "Grizzlies are known to do a bluff charge, usually, and there was no bluff charge. He just, at about 40 yards, he opened up on us and started coming at us."

Goodrich says it only took about five seconds before the bear was on him.

"It's pretty much a blur after that. I remember going over the tree and hearing my leg break and then, after that, things are pretty blurry for the next 8-10 hours," he said.

Gunfire from the guide scared the grizzly bear away. Goodrich had his femur snapped in half and suffered puncture wounds on his back where the bear swatted him. Search and rescue crews put his leg in traction and got him out of the wilderness. He says he owes his survival to those professionals, his own training and something else.

"God took care of me that day on that mountain," Goodrich said.

Lucky to be alive, he knows his injuries could have been much worse.

"It's kind of like being a police officer. You can't be afraid of it. You have to be cognizant of it and be prepared," he said.

He says he'll get back out there and hunt again.

As a deputy, Goodrich was honored for helping someone else survive. In 2008, he swam into Lake Monroe and rescued a woman stranded in the water.