Man fights off bear and suffers only minor injuries while hiking in mountains outside Los Angeles

He was blindsided by a bear — and fortunately lived to tell his tale.

An unidentified hiker was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries Monday after a bear "came out of nowhere" and attacked him in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles, officials said.

The 53-year-old man was on a trail about two miles north of Sierra Madre's Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park around 10:45 a.m. when the hair-raising confrontation unfolded, officials said.

"The hiker ran into a bear, and the bear went up on its hind legs," Officer Joe Lazcano with the Sierra Madre Police told the Daily News.
The startled hiker backed away not realizing there was another bear off to his left side, ready to pounce.

"It came out of nowhere," Officer Lazcano said of the second bear. "It attacked the subject. It was probably more than 200 pounds."

The man was knocked down and injured but managed to fight off the wild animal and later walk out of the wilderness on his own, officials said.

He called for help and was taken to Methodist Hospital in Arcadia for treatment of cuts, scratches and possible puncture wounds, authorities said.
"My husband and I passed this hiker on our way down from George's cabin today. We were impressed at what great shape he was in (he was running). Wishing him a speedy recovery," local resident Alyssa Kilpatrick said in a Facebook comment Monday.

Fish and Wildlife officials said they will try to find and capture the bear and destroy it for public safety reasons.

Police said there was no immediate threat to the community because the attack was so high up, "well into the mountain area."

California generally sees three or four minor bear attacks a year, the Associated Press reported.

"They typically are non-aggressive," said Chief Larry Giannone, director of public safety for the Sierra Madre police and fire departments. "We've had officers that have walked right by them."

Some concerned citizens used social media to urge officials to leave the bears alone.

"Please, we are begging you, please don't shoot the bears!" Sierra Madre resident Carol Doupe Canterbury wrote on Facebook.

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