Texan camper has lucky escape after waking with head in jaws of 300lb bear

Black bear in woodland
(Image credit: Getty)

A man from Texas was lucky to escape with his life after waking up to find his head in the jaws of a huge black bear. 

According to local news site Santa Fe New Mexican, 24-year-old Paul Georgoulis was camping on land near Santa Fe National Forest in Glorieta when the attack took place. Georgoulis said he was woken by a loud snuffling sound, then realised the bear was biting him.

"“I scream as loud as I can, right in its ears, and it kind of lumbers off," he explained afterwards, adding that he saw his life flash before his eyes. "I can't think of any other way to say it," he added.

Georgouis didn't escape unscathed, and was left with a gash to his head that required 16 staples to close. "I was really worried because when that bear grabbed me [...] I heard a bit of a crunching sound," he said. "Luckily my CT scan came back OK."

The wrong place at the wrong time

Bears usually only attack humans if they feel threatened, but there have been other incidents of campers being bitten in their sleep. Back in May this year, a Boy Scout camping with his troop at Harriman State Park woke to discover a black bear with its jaws around his leg.

The boy, 12-year-old Henry Ayers, was luckier than Georgoulis and escaped with only scratches. The bear that attacked him was later caught and euthanized. 

Georgoulis was assisted by a friend who took him to hospital, but neither of their pair reported the incident to wildlife authorities in case the bear was put down.

"I think really what happened was there was a curious bear in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Georgoulis said. "It felt more like it was kind of trying to gently pick up my head and drag it somewhere else, if that makes any sense. Like I think he thought it was like an inanimate object kind of a thing that smelled good."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.