A combination of bad judgment and worse luck almost cost hunting guide Scott Newman his life during a bear hunt on Alaska’s Admiralty Island. His first mistake was to leave his client’s side to get a better view of a brown bear. The excited client fired two or three rounds–which Newman followed up with several more–and the wounded bear ran into the brush. His second mistake was not waiting until morning to retrieve what he thought was an expired animal. A respected guide with 17 years of experience, Newman, 39, described the attack that followed from his bed at Sitka Community Hospital.

“He looked like a freight train coming at me,” says Newman, who managed to get one shot off before his rifle jammed and the bear knocked him down. “He’s crunching the bones in my left leg, and I’m trying to get my gun to work.” The bear finally seemed to run out of energy, walked away, and died.

Newman called the Coast Guard on his handheld radio and was evacuated by helicopter. He sustained fractures to his left leg, ankle, and arm, and his right hand and forearm, as well as numerous puncture wounds.

“After I shot him, he had 30 seconds to live,” Newman says. “In the meantime he chewed on me pretty good.” –TONY CARROLL