Ex-Marine Survives Grizzly Attack Then 175 Mile Trek

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

Ex-Marine and Anchorage resident Donald "Skip" Sanford was out in the Alaskan wilderness with his hunting group - hunting moose. They were hunting about five miles upriver from Maclaren River Lodge. Skip had gone back out to retrieve a hand-held radio he had dropped on the way. He first saw the bear when it was about 75 yards away. The grizzly started charging towards Skip. He had time to get one shot from his rifle, before the grizzly attacked. It chomped on Skip's head, leaving deep wounds on his neck and back near his kidneys, partially ripping off an ear. The attack continued for 45 seconds.

Back at the camp after hearing the shot, hunting partner Monty Dyson turned on his radio. “He was just mumbling. ‘Monty, a bear got me. A bear got me,’ ” said Dyson, who started walking toward the sound of the shot and found his friend covered in blood. Dyson told his son to get a boat ready. Skip managed to walked back to the camp, which took an hour, then floated down the river, then was airlifted 175 miles to an Anchorage hospital. Alaska State troopers request help from the Air Guard, due to the remoteness of the location to fly Skip out.

Skip is now in fair condition. Joe Snyder one of the helpers at the lodge, describes him as “tougher than nails” ex-Marine and a Vietnam veteran. Dyson went out to retrieve Skip's backpack, and found it close to a moose carcass. It is believed the grizzly was just protecting its kill. From The Washington Post.


hunter25's picture

Now there's an amazing story.

Now there's an amazing story. It says he's in fair condition so hopefully he will continue to improve and come through this without any long term injury and have a great story to tell later. I read somewhere that at least for a short distance that a bear can out run a horse. Bot some thing we think about when wondering if something like this will ever happen to us. There have been more and more bear attacks this year than ever before. Hopefully things will slow down and get back to where these reports aren't coming in nearly every day like this. 

There's no doubt about how tough this guy is if he was able to walk back to camp with help himself before being gotten out the rest of the way.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Always knew the marines were

Always knew the marines were tough guys...that goes to show how tough if already going thru Veitnam didn't this sure did.  Yep them grizzlies can cover some seriuos ground if the need to and it appears that this one was just doing what nature had raised it to do...protect itself and its food.  Glad to hear the hunter is gonna be OK and good to hear all the different departments come togther to help in getting him to safety.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Damn, scary for sure.  One

Damn, scary for sure.  One shot in 75 yards?  Shows you haw fast those brizzly bears can run.  Cover that distance pretty quick!

Glad to see he made it out relatively okay. Maybe have a few physicaly scars, and emotional ones, but he's still alive!

SGM's picture

One lucky guy.

That is a heck of a story and hope he will be alright once he heals up. He is also one lucky guy that he was not killed on the spot or die from his womds being back so far in the bush. Glad his buddy was with him to help him to safety.

deerhunter30's picture

That is amazing that this guy

That is amazing that this guy made it that far after being attacked by a grizzly bear. The marines must have really toughened this guy up.

I am just glad that he made it. I hope everything turns out alright and heals up nice.

Retired2hunt's picture


Whoa! He is a very tough guy. That is a lot of valuable time, distance, and effort to get medical attention. My hunting partner has a brother that lives in Alaska. We discussed going there maybe in the next year or two for some Moose hunting. If we go I don't think I will be going anywhere while hunting there without a second person close by... and my 9mm at my side!