Hunter Survives Attack On Kodiak Island

KTVA Anchorage, Bear Hunting Magazine
11/11/2008

A bear attack in Kodiak left a hunter severely injured as he waited days for help to arrive. The attack happened October 26, 2008.

Matthew Sutton traveled all the way from Montana to Kodiak Island for a deer hunting trip, where he was mauled by a bear. He is now out of the hospital and up on his feet. Sutton stated, "It happened so fast, everybody asked, why didn't you have a handgun and to be honest it wouldn't have mattered if I had a handgun I would've got messed up either way."

It started out as the trip of a lifetime. Sutton and his friend Bill Bush flew into Viekoda Bay in Kodiak for a deer-hunting trip. Matthew got one and was dragging back to camp, when a brown bear sow and her two cubs ambushed and attacked him.

Sutton recalled, "At one point the bear had its paw on my chest and I could look up at it...it was very terrifying, and I thought to myself, really this is it?"

The bears were in fact after the deer carcass, but they took a few bites out of Sutton as well. It was an experience he says he will never forget, "It was like I was on a bad roller coaster ride. I was picked up, and I felt immobilized like a cat and was carried through the alders."

One of the bears attacked him repeatedly in his belly, legs, arms, neck and face. It attacked until he stayed on the ground and yelled to his friend who could not get there in time.

Sutton recalled, "I could hear him yelling while I was down on the ground, and I yelled back at him, and he said he couldn't hear me and I'm just glad he didn't, because if we would've both got messed up we would've both been in trouble being in a remote location."

So remote there were no cell phones, no transportation, no nothing. The two waited three days after the attack, with Matthew bleeding through his makeshift bandages for help to arrive.

"I'd never been at peace at dying and all I could think about was, I got five girls and a wife in Montana, and what I did was just ask the Lord, just take care of my family," said Sutton.

As for Sutton, he does not harbor any anger towards the bears, "I'm not mad at the bears, they were just looking for an easy meal and they got it." Sutton has a journal he wrote in thanking all the people who saved his life. That includes his hunting partner, Bill, who helped him out through those rough couple of days until they could get medical help.



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