A camp counselor in Colorado awoke Sunday morning to a crunching sound that turned out to be his own head in the mouth of a bear.
"The crunching noise was I guess the teeth scraping against the skull as it dug in," the 19-year-old counselor, identified only as Dylan, told Denver7.
He and four other counselors were in sleeping bags along a lakefront about 45 miles northwest of Denver, as 12- and 13-year-old campers slept in teepees nearby, the Associated Press reported.
Dylan said the bear clawed his forehead and then bit the back of his head and began dragging him. As the young man punched and hit the bear, fellow camp staffers tried to scare the animal away.
The bear dragged Dylan 10 to 12 feet.
"When it was dragging me — that was the slowest part," he told the TV channel. "It felt like it went forever."
Dylan was taken to the hospital, where he received nine staples to close the wounds.
The attack is one of a number of recent bear-related incidents. Last week, a woman in Idaho was attacked while walking her dogs, and four bears were killed on Wednesday in the Durango, Colo., area. In June, two young people were killed by bears in separate attacks in Alaska.
The Colorado bear's behavior was so unusual, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill told the AP, because it didn't appear to have been attracted to the camp by food. She said wildlife officials have set traps and any bear trapped in the coming days would likely be euthanized and its DNA tested to see if it's the same one that attacked the counselor.
At Glacier View Ranch, Dylan will probably have the best campfire story for many summers to come — especially since he teaches wilderness survival.
"I'm not afraid of the bears," he told Denver7. "I'm not afraid of sleeping outside anymore. You just have to be aware and respect the animals."