Traps set out near Yosemite National Park have failed so far to catch an elusive bear that attacked a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran outside his home in Mariposa County.
Larry Yepez, 66, told the "Today” show that his Marine skills came in handy as he fought off the 200-pound black bear. He woke about 4 a.m. Thursday to go to the restroom and heard a noise outside.
He stepped outside his Midpines home and encountered the bear as it scavenged for food through his trash. Yepez yelled at the animal and picked up a plastic container and hit the bear with it.
The bear struck Yepez, who was thrown to the ground and attacked. The bear bit his arm and clawed his face, chest and legs. Yepez kicked and punched the bear, managing to escape.
As he ran into his home, his pet Yorkshire terrier distracted the bear. Yepez, injured and bloodied, drove himself to the hospital.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking for the bear, and set a trap near Yepez’s home.
Lab tests show the bear was female.
The traps caught a bear, but it was male. Fish and Wildlife wardens released it and continued their search for the animal that attacked Yepez.
If caught, the bear will be euthanized, wildlife officials said.
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