POWELL, Wyo. — A Park County rancher seriously injured in a grizzly bear attack said he believes the sow was simply trying to protect her cubs and could have killed him if it had wanted.
Nic Patrick, 64, has been released from University of Colorado Hospital, where doctors have been rebuilding his face, but he still requires up to five more surgeries. In his first interview since the attack, Patrick told the Powell Tribune that the incident could have been much worse. He said the 400-pound bear came at him twice but not to kill him.
"Either time she could have taken me out," he said.
Patrick was irrigating crops at his ranch early on June 20 when the bear went after his dog, then attacked him.
He said he believes global warming is driving bears out of their normal habitat in the mountains, where they can find cutthroat trout, white bark pine nuts and other natural food sources. He hopes the bear that attacked him has since found safety and food in the high country.
"I hope she can get up there and gets fat and sassy," he said.
Patrick will remain in Denver with friends as he waits to undergo the additional operations. Friends and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have offered to harvest the hay on his ranch while he recovers.