I got a call from my father a few weeks ago letting me know that our dear friend Rich Paini had been attacked by what he thought was a Grizzly Bear and the details we had thus far were sketchy. My heart sank. Rich and his friend Jon Stiehl had been out for a morning Elk hunt and they were attacked. I immediately thought of the last time I saw Rich, at his wedding on the banks of the Henry's Fork River in Island Park, Idaho at his Fly Fishing Lodge "Trout Hunter".
It was a gorgeous day. When my family and I showed up to attend the wedding there was a sign on the fly shop door that said something to the effect that the wedding ceremony and reception were going to be starting late because Rich was out fishing.
As Jon explains in this TroutHunt.com update, I'm happy to report that Rich and Jon made it out alive, although Rich had some pretty severe battle wounds to take home with him. Jon explains:
I heard Rich yell “BEAR!” By the time I was able to get out my pepper spray, Rich and a very large dark bear with a buff face came flying into view. The bear was 3/4's erect and Rich had managed to stick up his right arm to protect his face. The bear clamped down on it and threw Rich to the ground, completely breaking his right arm below the elbow. It looked like a hit from an NFL Linebacker. Rich thrust his left arm and recurve bow towards the bear's face in an attempt to free himself. The bear chomped that hand splintering the arrows in the bow quiver in the process. I ran to the collision just in time to fire off a cloud of pepper spray at the bear's huge ass and watch it tear off into the woods.
A broken arm and missing ring finger later, Rich is home and recovering. I look forward to visiting the TroutHunter Lodge in the next few years to hear the story in person. I'll be purchasing some pepper spray before I go.
Click the picture to visit TroutHunt.com and see their Fly Shop, Lodge and Guide Service: