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Bear attack survivor shares chilling messages he wrote when he thought he was going to die
Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Bear attack survivor shares chilling messages he wrote when he thought he was going to die

Speaking to UNILAD, Jeremy Evans has shared the chilling message he wrote when he thought he was going to die.

Warning: This article contains discussions of attempted suicide which some readers may find upsetting

Jeremy Evans' life changed forever when he ventured into the Canadian woods in 2017 in the hope of catching a sheep.

But instead of finding the fluffy animal, he was almost killed by one of the most terrifying creatures out in the wild.

By the time Jeremy heard a branch breaking in the Alberta woods it was too late - a grizzly bear had already spotted him in the vicinity of her cub.

When he saw her she was four feet away and there was no escape. That's when the fight for his life began.

It wasn't the first time Jeremy had come across a grizzly in the woods. As a frequent hunter, bears were just something he had to do his best to avoid.

The maintenance supervisor spent the last 17 years trying to catch a ram with horns which form four-fifths of a complete circle on either side of its head - a qualifier that makes it legal to kill in Canada.

On 24 August 2017, he'd ridden his bike up to the area where he was hunting and was just sitting there, watching some sheep over the handlebars when he saw a little brown thing scurry in front of him.

"I knew instantly what it was," Jeremy said. "I had that feeling like, 'I'm screwed'."

What it was, was a bear cub. And cubs don't tend to roam too far from their mothers.

When he first saw the fully-grown bear, Jeremy didn't have time to reach for his bear spray and try and ward it off. Instead, he grabbed the bike in front of him and whacked it towards the beast, getting her head caught in the frame.

Jeremy threw his bike to stop the bear.

The bear made some 'pretty big holes' in Jeremy's hand as he continued trying to strike and scare her, but thankfully she did start to back off. She got about 30 feet away as Jeremy too edged backwards, trying to get to safety, but the bear wasn't finished.

"She just spun right around and came charging back in a second time," Jeremy recalled.

"The second time I just chucked my pack at her and I ran up the hillside as fast as I could to try to climb into a tree... I got about six feet up [but] my right leg was hanging low.

"She came running at the tree, stood up on her hind end [and] with her two paws, grabbed my right leg and pulled it down... As I'm watching, looking down, she clamped on my leg. I'm thinking, 'this is gonna hurt'."

The bear 'crunched' Jeremy's knee and pulled him out of the tree. She clamped her teeth around him and threw him into the air, pounced on top of him and sunk her teeth into his face.

Playing dead only resulted in him getting 'chewed on', so Jeremy tried to fight back again. He punched the bear in the face, shoved his fingers in her eyes and even managed to grab her tongue as she opened her mouth ready to take another bite.

He found most success when he grabbed some soft skin below the beast's belly and began to twist, making her 'squeal' and run off into the woods.

Jeremy was able to get up and find his bag, at which point he snapped a selfie of his damaged face.

Jeremy's face was entirely ripped away by the bear.

UNILAD has chosen not to include the image in its original form due to its graphic nature, but it revealed Jeremy's skin torn away from his face and eyes, leaving him bloody and unrecognisable.

Looking at this picture, Jeremy thought to himself: "Well, it's not so bad."

Reader, I can assure you it was that bad. But things were only about to get worse.

Jeremy was loading his gun when he heard the sound of 'ice breaking' - the bear had clamped its jaws around his skull and started to drag him backwards.

"I just remember feeling her dragging my butt across the ground, probably 10, 15 feet or so. [I was] sitting on my butt, couldn't move," Jeremy said.

"Her claw caught me on the side of the face and then peeled everything back, my ear and everything. [She was] just gnawing on the back of my skull, like a dog on a bone just crunching away.

"She was ripping things off on my neck and collarbone. She chewed on all that."

Jeremy's face was entirely ripped away by the bear.

Jeremy tried again to grab on to the soft spot of the bear's flesh, saying he 'held on for dear life' as the bear started 'panicking'.

She began to run and Jeremy let go, his ravaged body dropping to the ground. He couldn't see, his vision having been impaired by the attack, but he managed to crawl back through the woods and find his bag and gun.

As he was feeling around on the floor for a clip for the gun, the first things he came across were his moustache and goatee, a chunk of his face and his ear, ripped away entirely by the bear.

Convinced he wasn't going to make it out of there alive, Jeremy pulled out his phone and wrote some messages to his wife. He didn't have service, but he wanted to make sure he'd said his goodbyes.

"What do you do when you're all messed up like that?" Jeremy asked.

Jeremy didn't have service in the woods.

The messages, shared exclusively with UNILAD, saw Jeremy telling his wife he loved her and their daughter.

"Whoever finds this please let my wife know I tried to make it," one reads. "But there is [no] chance, that bear really [f***ed] me up."

In another text, Jeremy wrote: "I am pretty sure this is the end. I am very tired and I feel like I am going to pass out. If I do I won't wake up."

Messages sent, Jeremy did the only thing he could think to do. He turned the gun on himself and attempted to take his own life.

Jeremy was convinced he wouldn't make it out of the woods alive.

But the gun didn't go off.

"That was kind of strange," Jeremy remembers. "So I moved it away and pulled the trigger again. And it actually went off... Then I decided at that point, I'm at least going to try to get out."

The dad had no hope that he'd make it back to civilisation, so instead he tried to make it to a more clearly marked trail where he was more likely to be found.

Jeremy left the messages for whoever would find him.

He believes he fell 'probably 100 times' as he walked 'like a zombie', and before long he lost his footing and fell approximately 200 feet down into a drainage basin.

He hit boulders at the bottom and was left 'pretty mangled and messed up'.

"That hurt a lot," he said. "I could hardly move."

Exhausted and in agony, Jeremy 'gave up'. He wanted to just fall asleep, so he pulled out his phone to play some music.

Instead, he got 'Baby Shark'. Just when you think things couldn't get any worse.

But for Jeremy, the song proved to be a lifeline. It was the song he'd been playing the night before, the track he and his wife played for his daughter when she was having a 'rough night'.

Jeremy's belongings were scattered in the woods after the attack.

"I don't know if it was the song playing on repeat, or just thinking about [my wife and child], but I started to crawl up the drainage on the other side. I managed to crawl up and get back onto the trail," Jeremy said.

He set himself tiny goals, just trying to make it to the next tree, the next rock. During his journey he came across a camp that he'd always known to be occupied, every time he went to the woods. He unzipped the two tents there, desperate for help, but there was no one.

Jeremy found paper and a pen at the site and scribbled a note to the occupants with his name and an explanation of what happened.

"Sorry about the mess," he wrote, knowing he was bleeding all over the place.

Jeremy apologised for the mess he'd made at the tents.

Left to continue his journey, it wasn't until about six hours after his attack that Jeremy made it to a milestone he recognised: two rocks on the path which meant he was about a mile from his truck.

All he could make out with his damaged eyes were blurred shapes and light, but he got into his car and drove 20km to a lodge for help, all the while aiming for 'the light spot in the middle' of the darker spruce trees he knew lined the road.

Jeremy stumbled up to the lodge, and there heard a child say: "Grandma, someone's trying to play a prank!"

He looked so much like a 'zombie' that the kid couldn't fathom it was real, but the adults could. Terrified his rescuers would 'freak out', Jeremy assured the people at the lodge he was 'fine', that they should keep calm and get him an ambulance.

Given that he'd literally been mauled by a bear, Jeremy knew his injuries were 'pretty bad', but it wasn't until he arrived at the hospital and staff began 'freaking out' that panic set in. He asked doctors to cover his face before his wife came to see him, saying his face was 'all skull', with 'no skin' on it.

Jeremy's face had been almost entirely ripped away.

Even after he recovered from some of the physical damage of the attack, Jeremy long suffered with mental health issues. He lacked sleep and experienced flashbacks through PTSD, with something as simple as emptying an ice tray enough to send his mind back to the woods.

It wasn't until a little over a year ago that Jeremy had a breakthrough in his treatment, when he had a session of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which involves the patient going through a traumatic scene in their head and looking at it in a different way.

That night, for the first time since he got home from the attack, he slept straight through with no nightmares.

Jeremy has since been back to those same woods, and has even encountered bears since, though thankfully never one as closely as that day in 2017.

"When you set mini goals, you can achieve incredible things," he began.

"Family comes first. [And] asking for psychiatric help is not a sign of weakness. It's a strength. I mean, guys are always supposed to be all tough and look after the family. But when you're not mentally fit, you can't do that. So ask for help."

The first time he returned to the woods, one year after the accident, Jeremy was understandably 'pretty nervous'. But he eventually got a 'good feeling' about being back, knowing that he made it out, and he was alive.

Jeremy has further detailed his experiences in a memoir, titled Mauled: Lessons Learned from a Grizzly Bear Attack, which is available to buy now.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in mental health crisis, help is available through Mental Health America. Call or text 988 or chat You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline.

Topics: Animals, Canada, Mental Health