New Mexico rancher Dean Dommer estimates that he’s had over 100 peaceable black bear sightings within the final yr on his property close to Glorieta Cross within the Santa Fe Nationwide Forest.
He chalks it as much as a latest wildfire within the space, the most important in state historical past, that burned over 340,000 acres and displaced swarms of wildlife about 40 miles east of his property. These circumstances, mixed with the pond and hummingbird feeders situated proper close to his home, make Dommer’s 50-acre plot a kind of black bear paradise.
So when acquaintance Paul Georgoulis sprinted into Dommer’s home at 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 11 with a bloody gash throughout his head, Dommer thought he was dreaming. Georgoulis was shouting by means of the dripping mess that he’d been bitten by a bear whereas out “cowboy tenting” on the ranch.
Georgoulis, 24, ended up sleeping on Dommer’s property after plans to drive from Santa Fe to Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon State Park fell by means of. He’d visited Dommer’s place a yr prior and referred to as to ask if he might spend the night time once more. Dommer welcomed him whereas warning that it was additionally bear season. He discovered a spot off the crushed “bear paths” that overlay the property for Georgoulis to put his sleeping bag on. However after the 2 chatted late into the night time, Georgoulis ended up sleeping in a special spot.
“I didn’t see the place he camped till after the assault, nevertheless it seems he ended up by chance tenting proper on a bear path,” Dommer says.
Georgoulis isn’t precisely unprepared to sleep outdoors. He used to work as a backcountry counselor on the Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s greatest excessive journey camp situated within the Sangre de Cristo vary in northeastern New Mexico. He sleeps outdoors continuously, however this was the primary time an evening of open-air tenting led to catastrophe.
“I might hear it sniffing like a canine, so I sort of froze up and didn’t do something for a break up second, after which it put its enamel round my head and began to chew,” Georgoulis instructed Out of doors Life. “All I might assume was ‘properly, I’ve two choices proper now: hold letting it do what it’s doing or scream as loud as you may.’ So I attempted screaming and it let go of me. It did that lumbering stroll away that bears do once they’re scared.”
As soon as the bear cleared the scene, Georgoulis made a break for Dommer’s home.
“He confirmed up at my door and he was clearly distraught and sort of bleeding profusely from the top,” Dommer says.
“It was like one thing out of the film Deliverance,” Georgoulis chuckles. “I used to be in my underwear, bleeding like a caught pig, screaming and operating at this log cabin in the course of nowhere.”
Dommer instantly went to retrieve Georgoulis’ belongings from the scene of the crime solely to find that the bear had dragged the sleeping bag away.
“However we had greater fish to fry at the moment, when it comes to assessing the severity of the wound and figuring out whether or not he wanted to go to the ER,” Dommer says. “We got here to the conclusion that as a result of it was a wild animal chew it could must be cleaned. So we hurried to the ER and he acquired in fairly shortly.”
The outcomes of the CT scan had been miraculously unfavorable. One good cleansing and 16 staples later, Georgoulis was prepared for launch. They went again to Glorieta, the place Georgoulis waited for his mom to reach from Dallas. In the meantime, Dommer went again out to the improvised campsite to trace down the sleeping bag.
“The bear had carted the empty sleeping bag down the hill and off into a bit space the place it might perform a little deeper investigation into the smells it was smelling,” Dommer says. “I discovered the sleeping bag perhaps 30 yards from the incident website.”
Geourgoulis says the New Mexico Division of Fish and Sport reached out to him relating to the assault and that he was prepared to supply info for statistical functions, however that in any other case he and Dommer averted reaching out to wildlife brokers. Neither felt that the bear behaved in an overtly aggressive method.
Their principle? It smelled Georgoulis’ shampoo wafting from below his Buff gaiter and determined the large lump on the bottom was value investigating. Georgoulis notes that the bear immediately darted when he opened his mouth. Dommer feels at peace with the bears that frequent his property.
‘I’ve at all times welcomed the wildlife,” Dommer says. “To me, they had been right here first.”
Cheryl Georgoulis remembers getting the decision no mom ever desires to get.
“It was that dreaded cellphone name in the course of the night time,” she sighs. “To Paul’s credit score, he began it off with ‘Mother, I’m okay.’ However then he adopted it up with ‘I’ve been bitten within the head by a bear.’ It’s like listening to he was struck by lightning.”
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The staples have since been faraway from Georgoulis’ scalp. Now the outdoorsman should work out easy methods to return to the woods with out concern of bear encounters getting in his manner.
“If somebody had been to ask me to go on a tenting journey tomorrow, I’d completely say ‘sure.’ However I’ve but to really see how I behave in that atmosphere,” Georgoulis says. “I used to be afraid to fall asleep on Thursday night time. If I ever have a canine that wakes me up by sniffing in my ear, I’ve no clue how I’m going to react to that, on condition that I used to be afraid to fall asleep in a lodge room in interior metropolis Santa Fe.”