Grizzly Victim: Playing Dead Saved My Life

'It started to shake me'
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2010 2:08 AM CDT
Grizzly Victim: Playing Dead Saved My Life
Government agents help Don Wilhelm pack up his campsite at the Soda Butte Campground after campers were evacuated following a fatal bear attack in Cooke City, Mont.   (AP Photo/The Daily Chronicle, Nick Wolcott)

(Newser) – Canadian camper Deb Freele woke in her tent pitched near Yellowstone to feel a grizzly bear's teeth crunch into her forearm—and it only got worse from there. "It was behind me, and I screamed. I couldn't help it —it's kind of like somebody else was screaming," she told AP. "And then it bit me harder, and more. It got very aggressive and started to shake me." That's when she knew she had to try something different to survive.

"I decided at that point to play dead, and I just went totally limp, got very quiet, didn't make a sound. A few seconds later, the bear dropped me and walked away," she said. Nearby Michigan camper Kevin Kammer, 48, was not so lucky. The same bear, a 400-pound sow trailing three cubs, killed him after dragging him from his tent, and injured another at Montana's Soda Butte campground. The bear was later lured into a makeshift trap of pipe and bits of the dead man's tent. Two of the cubs were also captured, and wildlife authorities were waiting for the other to enter the trap.
(Read more Yelllowstone National Park stories.)

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