Veteran Has Jaw Torn Off During Grizzly Bear Attack in Montana’s National Forest

A 61-year-old Navy veteran, Rudy Noorlander, is in a critical but stable condition in a hospital following a grizzly bear attack in Montana’s Custer Gallatin National Forest, according to his family. The incident occurred last Friday when Noorlander, who operates an ATV rental business, was assisting his clients in tracking a deer they had recently hunted.

Noorlander first spotted a smaller bear and attempted to frighten it away with his rifle. However, he was soon ambushed by a 10-foot grizzly bear. His daughter, KateLynn Noorlander, shared on a GoFundMe page set up for her father that his firearm misfired, leaving him with no other option but to defend himself with his bare hands as he didn’t have time to retrieve his bear spray from his backpack.

As the bear lunged at him, Noorlander tried to slow it down by punching it. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain, and the grizzly bear ended up on top of him. The bear left a large scratch on his right chest, bit his arms and legs, and tore off his lower jaw, which Noorlander described as the most disgusting French kiss of his life.

The hunters accompanying Noorlander managed to scare off the bears and promptly called for a helicopter rescue. However, due to the potential threat of remaining bears, the first helicopter had to wait for another one to arrive to potentially scare away any remaining bears. Noorlander remained fully conscious on the ground for two hours before he could be airlifted out of the forest, a testament to his strength as he did not pass out from fear, pain, or blood loss.

Noorlander was initially taken to Bozeman Deaconess hospital in Montana for surgery. He was later transferred to the University of Utah Hospital for further treatment. In response to the attack, the US Forest Service closed off parts of the park to track down the grizzly bear. It is currently unclear whether the bear has been located.