Yellowstone Bear Attack: Deb Freele Survives at Soda Butte Camp
The Yellowstone Bear Attack On July 28 2010 Left One Person Dead, But Deb Freele Tells Her Tale of Survival
What would you do if you woke up in your tent on a camping trip and a bear was chewing on your arm?
That's exactly what happened to Deb Freele from London Ontario when she was camping at the Sode Butte Campground Near Yellowstone National Park. Feele describes herself as a veteran camper, but has never come face to face with a bear before.
Luckily her survival instinct kicked in and that is what undoubtedly saved her life.
"I screamed, he bit harder, I screamed harder, he continued to bite," she said.
Then she decided to play dead:
"I told myself, play dead," Freele said. "I went totally limp. As soon as I went limp, I could feel his jaws get loose and then he let me go."
Freele says it felt like the bear was hunting her. It also killed one man and wounded another by biting him on the calf. It is still not known why the bear attacked the campers and the bear has not been found.
Park officials are calling it the 'most brazen in the Yellowstone area in more than 20 years'.
For Deb Freele, it will take some time to recover from the attack, but she says it does not put her off camping forever. She is recovering from broken bones and severe lacerations and says that recalling the bear attacks in Yellowstone National Park in 1968 probably saved her life as playing dead was one of the points that was brought up then.
In a similiar but not as severe an attack at the Soda Butte Campground in 2008, a grizzly bear bit a man sleeping in his tent, but he survived and the grizzly was transported to a bear research center.
"The suspicion among a lot of the residents is that the bear they caught (in 2008) was not the right one," said Gary Vincelette, who has a cabin in nearby Silver Gate.
It is estimated that about 600 grizzlys and hundreds of black bears live in the area of Yellowstone National Park.