RED RIVER GORGE, Ky. — The Red River Gorge area in Daniel Boone National Forest is closed until further notice after what officials said was the first black bear attack on a human in modern Kentucky history.
Tim Scott, 56, of Springfield, Ky., said he was hiking on Pinch-Em Tight Trail on Sunday when the bear attacked him without provocation about 2:15 p.m.
Scott said in a telephone interview that he was standing on a ledge, his blue heeler dog with him on a retractable leash, when he realized there was something behind them. When he turned, he said, the black bear was standing on the trail.
As it ambled off, he took some pictures of it with his iPhone. He had been walking several hundred yards ahead of his wife and adult son.
"I was going to call my wife and say, 'I don't think we ought to be on the trail with a bear,'" Scott said.
But he didn't get the chance.
He said the bear got back on the trail and "began walking towards me deliberately."
"I retreated down the trail and ducked into the woods," he said, but the bear followed.
When his dog became excited, he said, he let her go.
"She took off like a bullet," he said.
Scott said he took a few more pictures, but the bear came closer, eventually getting within about 3 feet of him.
He dropped his belt pack as a distraction and picked up a 6-foot long "very rotten pine limb."
As the bear continued to approach, he kept backing up. He tried hitting the bear with the end of the stick, then dropping his hat and cell phone case, but the bear was undeterred.
After walking backward about 70 feet on the trail, Scott said, he came to a point where he was going to have to take a step up. He had to turn his back to the bear to get a foothold.
"He lunged forward and bit the back of my calf," Scott said.
He said he tried getting behind a small tree, but it didn't provide much protection, and his stick crumbled.
The bear "grabbed me by the back of my right thigh," Scott said. "He took a couple of bites."
Then, Scott said, he "really dug in deep and began shaking me kind of like a dog would do with a toy.
"I'm down on the ground. His teeth are deep in me."
Scott said he had a knife in his pocket, but the bear was standing on it.
"I had to move his leg" to retrieve the knife, Scott said.
He opened his knife and prepared to stab the bear in the eye.
"I figured that's about all I had left," he said.
Read more of this story at Kentucky.com