A Wisconsin man survived a bear attack thanks to his wife's unique use of a shotgun.
Gerre Ninnemann, 74, and his wife, Marie Ninnemann, 71, from Green Bay, Wis., were at a cabin in Silver Cliff, Wis., on Wednesday afternoon when the husband saw a 200 pound black bear pursuing their golden retriever, Maddie, according to ABC affiliate WBAY-TV.
"Apparently, his dog was barking," Lt. Jim Albright of the Marinette County Sheriff's Department told ABCNews.com. "When he checked on his dog, he saw the bear and went to get the bear away from his dog."
It worked, but the bear turned around and headed for Gerre Ninnemann, Albright said.
"I was so afraid the bear was going to get the dog," he told WBAY. "I didn't take time to go inside and get a gun so there I am unarmed and facing an insane bear."
Albright said Gerre Ninnemann was able to get away from the bear, but the bear tackled and pinned him to the ground a second time and proceeded to bite his neck and claw his back.
His wife Marie Ninnemann rushed to his rescue. "She came out of the cabin with a shotgun," Gerre said. "Unfortunately, she didn't know how to load it."
Mrs. Ninnemann then hit the bear over the head with the shotgun, which the stunned the bear just long enough for the couple to run back in to the cabin, according to Albright.
The young bear, two years of age or younger, Albright said, circled the cabin for some time until Deputy Beauchamp from the Marinette County Sheriff's Department arrived.
"He made eye contact with the victim to confirm that it was the same bear," Albright said. "The bear came around the car and the deputy shot him."
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took possession of the bear to determine what caused the bear to attack.
"The test for rabies came back negative," Jeff Pritzel district wildlife supervisor for the DNR, told ABCNews.com. "That's not a factor in the situation. It's still unresolved."
Gerre Ninnemann received 14 stitches in his left ear and staples on the back of his head.
"Black bears are usually quite afraid of human beings," Albright said. "I have not heard of one in the last 15 years in Marinette County of a bear attacking."
Albright said it is possible that someone had been feeding the bear and it was hungry.
"If it hadn't been my wife coming out and clubbing the bear on the head, I probably wouldn't be talking to you today," Gerre Ninnemann told WBAY.
- Nature & Environment