Adventist Youth Survives Black Bear Attack

Dylan McWilliams woke up Sunday morning to find a black bear gnawing on his head — and trying to drag him away.

Dylan, told Fox 31 Denver he "woke up to a crunching sound and me being drug" out of his sleeping bag at Glacier View Ranch near the town of Ward, 48 miles northwest of Denver.

"I thought it was a dream at first, then I realized it wasn’t," said Dylan, who quickly realized that the crunching sound was the bear’s teeth biting into his skull.

Dylan said the bear dragged him about ten feet out of his sleeping bag as he struggled to free himself.  “I grabbed ahold of the bear by his ear and I found his eye and I was poking it.  It just let go of me and I was able to get away,” Dylan said.

The bear took off, but not before leaving Dylan with gashes on his head that required nine staples to close. No other injuries were reported. 

Dylan and the other staffers were near teepees where 12- and 13-year-old campers were sleeping. 

Dylan teaches wilderness survival at the camp, which is owned by the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. He told Fox 31 that his survival skills saved his life.

"Make sure you don’t have food in the camp. We didn’t. But still. Except me. I must have smelled really good or something," he joked.

Black bears aren't usually aggressive but have attacked several people in the West in recent weeks.

The bear's behavior was so atypical that any bear found in the traps in the next few days will likely be euthanized and officials will test later to see if it was the same bear involved in the attack using DNA evidence.

Author's note.  Gerry & Nancy Wagoner got to know Dylan while conducting a Week of Prayer at Daystar Academy in Utah (2014, 2016).