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Hardass-of-the-week alert: Jason Lauesen of Fairbanks, AK, deterred a tent-invading grizzly with a well-timed punch to the bear’s face. [Ed. Note: This is normally a terrible idea, but maybe this guy is The Hulk? Developing.] Lauesen and Liz Pawelko were returning from Wrangell-St. Elias and had camped at the Sourdough Campground on the Richardson Highway when they were awakened at about 6 a.m. on Labor Day by the curious grizzly’s paw or snout shaking and then entering the tent.
The Fairbanks News-Miner has more:
“I was sort of half asleep, and at first, I thought, ‘Jeez, this is really tossing and turning.’ Then I realized what was going on so I sat up,” said Lauesen, a Daily News-Miner pressman.
“My first reaction was to punch, so I did.”
At the time, Lauesen didn’t have his glasses on, and doesn’t know what part of the bear he made contact with. But whatever part of the bear entered the tent shredded the inflatable pad he was sleeping on. After the encounter, the couple found the jacket Lauesen had been using as a pillow soaked in bear saliva that reeked of fish, indicating the bear probably had its head in the tent.
Afterwards, the couple used their bear spray, but the wind carried it away, rendering it ineffective. Luckily, the bear remained 30 yards away and finally retreated when the couple drove at it with their car. The reason the bear investigated hasn’t been determined; according to the couple, they hadn’t left any foods or other smelly attractants in the tent.
Obviously, we can’t recommend deterring a bear with a right cross, even if you’re Evander Holyfield. But Lauesen is practically guaranteed to have the toughest-guy-in-the-room bar story for the rest of his life.