A Medford man suffered multiple injuries Thursday afternoon after a bear he and a hunting partner had shot grabbed and began to maul him.
Alex Machado, 22, was being treated at press time for multiple injuries in the emergency room of Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford — following a search and rescue effort that included the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, the Oregon State Police and Mercy Flights responders. (Correction: See below)
The second hunter, 24-year-old Nathan Shinn of Phoenix, was uninjured in the incident.
Officials said Machado and Shinn were deer hunting near Elk Creek Road in Trail when they spotted the bear. The men, who officials said had bear hunting tags, fired on the animal and hit it in the abdomen.
As the men approached the bear in a meadow where it had lain down, the animal awoke and grabbed Machado, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said in a news release.
"To make sure something is dead, confirm it with the barrel," said senior trooper Jim Collom of the OSP Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"They thought it was dead because it was laying there.
"It's always good to go up with your gun and make sure it's dead."
After grabbing Machado, Carlson said, the bear began biting Machado on the right side of his body injuring his right hand and arm, pulling the man into a hug.
Machado and the bear rolled down a 50-foot embankment, with the bear continuing to bite Machado as they plummeted.
Shinn ran after them, killing the bear with a rifle shot to the head. Shinn and the injured Machado then walked up a nearby ridge.
The pair separated as Shinn attempted to get cellphone service to call for help. Machado, meanwhile, walked further uphill and became separated from Shinn.
Within 10 minutes, a sheriff's office lieutenant found Machado walking down a spur road off Elk Creek Road. The officer quickly took Machado to the area where Mercy Flights had staged. The injured man was taken to Rogue Regional by ground transportation.
Shinn was located, uninjured, about an hour later. Neither hunter, officials said, was able to remember the exact location of the dead bear.
"The hunters need to get help and go back up and locate that bear," said Collom. "By law they have to salvage everything, and they have to check in the bear to Oregon department of fish and wildlife."
The meat has to be salvageable, and cold as it is at night, the meat will be fine, he said.
The Jackson County Sheriff's office offers a warning to people who are hunting in the woods to be cautious. When killing any type of game animal always approach it from the front to determine if it is truly dead.
Mail Tribune reporter Mandy Valencia can be reached at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: The spelling of Alex Machado's name has been corrected throughout this story.