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After being attacked by a bear, a navy veteran had his jaw torn off: “the whole bottom part of his mouth is gone.”

After helping a hunting group in Montana when he was mauled by a grizzly bear, the Navy veteran is making a full recovery.

According to a press statement from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team, a member of the hunting group contacted 911 just after 1:45 p.m. local time on Friday and reported to Madison County Dispatch that “an individual had been attacked by a grizzly bear while tracking a deer” on the Yellow Mule Trail.

The group had hired Rudy Noorlander’s firm, Alpine Adventures in Big Sky, “to rent out some of his ATVs,” according to KateLynn Noorlander, Rudy Noorlander’s daughter, who described the situation in a GoFundMe campaign that has generated over $40,000 to fund her father’s rehabilitation.

According to his daughter, Rudy was such a good Samaritan that he chose to help them search for it after hearing that the hunters had killed but were unable to find a deer. It turns out that the deer he had traced was not the one that the hunters had shot.

At one instance, Rudy confronted a 10-foot-tall grizzly bear after making an effort to frighten away an adult animal that his daughter shared. After Rudy’s rifle accidentally discharged, the second bear, which was far more aggressive than the first, “lunged” at him.

KateLynn claimed Rudy attempted to punch the bear “in hopes of slowing it down,” but was unsuccessful. After the veteran punched the bear, it was “on top of Rudy”.

Rudy was attacked and suffered bites to his arms and legs in addition to “a large scratch down his right chest.” Along with having his lower jaw severed, he also had “the most disgusting French kiss of his life.”

Fortunately, KateLynn announced that “the hunters were there to scare the bear away” prior to making an assistance request. According to the GoFundMe, her father was on the ground for two hours “while still fully conscious” before assistance could reach him.

According to GCSSAR, the victim was flown by Life Flight Helicopter to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center.

Following the event, the government declared the Yellow Mule Trails temporarily closed, including all entrances to the Buck Ridge Trail. According to Noorlander’s sister, Kary Lyman, the whole lower portion of his mouth—including his teeth and jaw—is missing, as reported by FOX station KSTU. Additionally, she said, the bear “broke part of his throat” in the assault.

According to the GoFundMe page, Rudy had “an initial surgery” before being airlifted to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he is now in stable condition.

According to KSTU, Rudy is still finding ways to make others smile even as he recovers from horrifying wounds.

“One of the nurses, when he first came in, said, ‘We understand you’re kissing bears,’ and he wrote on [a board], ‘Bear French kiss me,’ and she said, ‘Oh, bad breath?’ and he said yes,” Lyman stated to the outlet.

In the fundraiser, Katelynn expressed her amazement at her father’s fortitude, calling him the “bravest and strongest man I know.”

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