BIG SKY, Mont. (WJW) — A man is in critical but stable condition after being attacked by a grizzly bear outside of Yellowstone National Park in Montana last week, his family confirmed.
Rudy Noorlander, a Navy veteran who owns an outdoor adventure company, was reportedly leading a group of hunters trying to find a deer they had shot on the Yellow Mule Trail when they encountered two bears, Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue said.
The man was attacked by one of the animals and was badly injured — including having his jaw ripped off — after not being able to shoot it.
Noorlander was life-flighted out of the area and is recovering at a Utah hospital after an initial surgery in Montana, according to his family.
“My father is the bravest and strongest man I know,” his daughter KateLynn Davis wrote in a GoFundMe fundraiser set up for Noorlander.
Davis said the other hunters were eventually able to scare the animals off.
“Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer would like to remind hunters that having a plan for contingencies along with being able to call for aid is crucial in the backcountry,” the Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue said in a statement.
Just days before the attack, Montana wildlife officials euthanized a grizzly bear that broke through a home’s window and grabbed a container of dog food with her cub in tow.
Due to its food-conditioned behavior and “immediate public safety threat,” authorities opted to euthanize the 10-year-old female bear. They later determined the same bear had been involved in the fatal attack of a woman near West Yellowstone in July, as well as a 2020 incident that left a person injured in Idaho. Both incidents were deemed as defensive responses by the bear, and attempts to capture the grizzly were unsuccessful.
Her cub is now at a wildlife rehabilitation center in Helena and will later be transferred to a zoo.
If you do encounter a bear, the National Park Service recommends making yourself appear larger. You should not run, as this can make you appear even more like prey. Should you be attacked by a grizzly bear (or a brown bear), the NPS says you should play dead, laying flat on your stomach with your hands behind your neck and legs spread.
The agency says to stay in that position until the bear leaves the area.