WHITE OAK, North Carolina — Really, don’t mess with this guy.
A tough-as-nails 78-year-old punched out a bear that attacked him outside his North Carolina home, suffering only some cuts and bruises before driving the beast off.
Sonny Pumphrey said he was walking down his driveway in White Oak, when the mother beat wandered by with her two cubs. The cubs bolted, but the mother was ready to fight.
“She made a charging dead run at me. That sucker was eyeball-to-eyeball to me,” he told WLOS-TV.
But before it could get to him, Pumphrey says he punched the bear in the nose, casing the creature to duck down and bite his hip.
“She kind of shook me a little bit, and I’m still … I’m hitting her steady on the top of the head just as hard as I could swing, man, for dear life,” he said. “I just continue pounding and pounding and pounding and she’s continuing trying to bite me.
“And like I said, she got a hold of me and then shook me a little bit, then she let go and she took a swat at me. And when she took a swat at me she knocked me about eight feet over on the concrete,” he continued.
Hearing screams, his wife Betty ran outside with their Yorkshire Terrier and was shocked to see her husband trading blows with the angry beast.
“I saw her stand up and rear her paw back and all I seen was a mouthful of teeth,” she said. “And I just knew he was going to be gone.”
But between their dog barking and the two of them yelling, the bear got scared and ran off. Betty then got a shotgun and fired a shot in the woods to make sure the animal didn’t decide to return.
Wildlife officers tracked the bear but were unable to locate it. They say food has been scarce at higher elevations, so bears have been foraging lower.
Pumphrey had to get rabies shots, but was otherwise okay.
“I could have been dead. I could have been really cut up bad,” he said.
“We have a lot to be thankful for because we were both very, very lucky,” Betty said.