A Colorado man survived a bear attack Monday thanks to his wife and her Louisville Slugger.
Jon Johnson and George Ann Field were watching TV at their home in Pine when Johnson heard noises coming from upstairs. He walked into the kitchen and found himself face-to-face with a mother bear and one of her cubs eating a loaf of bread.
The animals had just opened the screen door and come in.
Johnson was forced into a bear-knuckle brawl with the mother.
“It was growling, I was growling. Between the two of us, we were having a lot of attitude,” he told CBS Denver.
He tried to fight off the creature by punching it in the stomach.
“She swatted me in the nose. She was down here, she was low when she swatted me,” he said. “I turned around, I punched her in the nose. From that point, we started going back-and-forth like a dance. She took some swipes here, swipe on my chest.”
Meanwhile, Field came upstairs armed with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat and took a few swings of her own.
The encounter is still a blur in her mind, she told local station KUSA.
“All I remember honestly seeing was this big, round blob in front of me, and I empowered myself better than you guys could ever imagine,” Field said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that strong, and I whacked that bear as hard as I could, both hands.”
“You would have thought I was a Louisville slugger.”
Her husband was impressed by her grace under pressure.
“When George hit it, it apparently turned fast enough trying to get out that it actually knocked a hole in the wall,” Johnson told KUSA.
He suffered a number of cuts to his face, chest and both arms, but Field was unharmed.
The bear that authorities believe attacked Johnson was found Tuesday morning about 900 yards away from the couple’s home and was euthanized, according to local station KDVR. DNA samples are being sent to the University of Wyoming Forensics Lab to confirm that it’s the same animal that battled Johnson.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a policy of euthanizing bears that attack and injure humans.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is now using the encounter as a teaching moment on its Facebook page.