(StraightNews.org) – A Montana hunter who lost his lower jaw in an encounter with a grizzly bear has revealed his reconstructed new face. Rudy Noorlander underwent a 10-hour surgery in September and had a new chin constructed using bone and skin transplanted from his leg. Dr. Hilary McCrary said the 61-year-old will need continuing speech therapy and still has wounds on his face that need to heal, but added that his positive attitude will help. “He was very adamant that he was going to fight this thing and get through it,” she said.
Navy veteran Noorlander was deer-hunting in Big Sky, Montana when the incident occurred. He encountered two grizzly bears along the Yellow Mule Trail and reached for his gun. His daughter KateLynn Davis said, “Instinctively, he pulled out his firearm in hopes of scaring away the grizzly,” but a 10-foot “aggressive bear was on him” before he had time to react. In the scuffle, Noorlander shot at the larger bear, but his shot misfired, and he engaged in a physical fight with the animal.
His daughter described how the battle left him with a large scratch on his abdomen, bites on his arms, and his lower jaw torn away.
Grizzlies are the most dangerous of America’s bears and responsible for most fatal attacks. Data released this year also revealed that their numbers are growing as some campaigners call for them to be removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Yellowstone National Park reported in August that the number of grizzlies has quadrupled there since they were listed as an endangered species, but said people are no more likely to be killed by the bear than by a falling tree.
Frank van Manen, who founded the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, rejects calls for protections to be lifted and says humans can live alongside bears without incident. “I think in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, we have shown that that is the case,” he said.
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