Former Marine, 66, survives bloody hand-to-claw combat with black bear

“I could feel the blood running out of me,” Yepez told The Washington Post. “That’s when I decided, ‘I’ve got to fight, man.’”

Standing 5-foot-9 and about 165 pounds, Yepez took on the bear late last week at his home in Midpines, a small mountain town in Mariposa County where bears have recently become a problem, according to KABC-TV. Residents have discovered their trashcans overturned and found bear droppings on their land. But, until now, no one had been attacked by one.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife authorities told the Los Angeles Times they are searching the area and setting bear traps for the beast that mauled Yepez. If caught, the animal will most likely be euthanized.

“I’m not a bear hater,” Yepez  said. “I believe we live in the bears’ habitat up here in the mountains. But like the game warden says, if it had been a little kid who got attacked, he’d be dead right now.”