Boise County man recounts bear attack

Marvin Jennings has been hunting up in Boise County for more than 20 years. He told KTVB on Saturday that he's always had that thought in the back of his mind about the possibility of a bear attack. It's a possibility that became a reality last Sunday nig

It’s been nearly one week since a Boise County man was mauled by a bear while on a hunting trip with his uncle. He spent five days in the hospital, and still has weeks left of recovery.

Marvin Jennings has been hunting up in Boise County for more than 20 years. He told KTVB on Saturday that he’s always had that thought in the back of his mind about the possibility of a bear attack. It’s a possibility that became a reality last Sunday night, May 28.

“Constantly thinking about what I could have done differently,” Jennings said.

A thought that nearly a week later still haunts him.

“A lot of nightmares, other than that I'm healing,” Jennings said.

Last Sunday, Jennings was out in Boise County bear hunting near a bait site with his uncle.

“We'd seen one come in. My uncle John took a shot, it was a good shot, bear went down,” he said.

Marvin shot the bear two more times as he started walking towards it, and thought it was down.

“I look back up at my uncle. I look back down and the bear was coming at me,” Jennings said.

As soon as he realized what was going on, Marvin was on the ground and being attacked by the bear.

“It was just get him off, that’s what was main concern of mine. I just wanted him off me because it hurt. I'm not going to lie about it. It hurt,” Jennings said.

The bear bit into Marvin’s torso and arm before he was able to get his handgun free.

“He'd had probably killed me if I didn't have my handgun,” Jennings said. “It was me or him.”

The bear was shot two more times before it went down.

Marvin’s first instinct was to go for help, so he jumped on his ATV and drove about a mile and a half down to the nearest home. He was then flown to St. Al’s in Boise where he was treated for his injuries.

“One of his teeth lodged into my artery, and that's basically what stopped the bleeding,” Jennings said. “It saved my life, saved my hand. I would have lost all blood flow to it if that tooth wasn't stuck in there.”

Two surgeries and five days later, Marvin is back home with his Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department, but still envisions the attack every night.

“I've had two different dreams. The blast of the rifle like I was the bear and then the bear mauling me is probably the most prevalent one that I have, just the look, the look in his eyes when he was on my arm,” Jennings said.

A look in the bear’s eyes that still haunts him, and the regret he says that he didn’t have a bigger sidearm.

“As far as blame it's my own fault. There's a couple of things I could have done differently, should have done differently. So that beats me up quite a bit,” Jennings said.

Jennings would like to thank his family at the Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department, his wife, EMTs, doctors, and everyone that has helped him along the way. He also says he holds a special place in his heart for all volunteer firefighters across the country and the work that they do.

The Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department has set up a donation page to help Jennings with all of his expenses.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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