Brandon Johnson was helping to track a black bear one of his friends had shot earlier while hunting — until another bear decided to hunt him.
Fortunately, Johnson was carrying a 5-inch knife — and a powerful will to survive.
It happened around midnight in Sand Stone, Minnesota this fall. The moonlight was dim and the fog dense when the 525-pound black bear charged Johnson and knocked him unconscious.
"I'm going, 'This is a strange dream,' and it's opening its mouth and it's going in slow motion. I'm trying to stop it from coming down on my face and then I realize, this is really happening," Johnson told KARE-TV.
He said he kept stabbing the bear, trying to get it to go away as the beast was gnawing on his hand. Eventually, the stabbing worked — the bear retreated.
Johnson hoped his nightmarish encounter was over, but moments later he realized it wasn't. After another round of fending off the bear, Johnson was screaming for his fiancee and friends, who were also out in the woods.
Upon the bear's second return, Johnson remembered being at the "point where I was thought I was going to die." Having come to terms with what seemed like could only end in death, Johnson said he was at the "point where I was ready to die."
"There was no more fear," he said.
Refusing to give up, Johnson stabbed the animal in the throat. The bear retaliated by grabbing onto his leg, picking him up and slamming him back to the ground, just before walking away for good. The next day, Johnson's friends found the bear dead about 50 feet away from where the attack occurred.
While Johnson was able to walk 700 yards to an ambulance with the help of some friends, KARE reported his injuries are extensive, possibly disabling him from ever returning to work as a contractor.
A crowd-funding campaign has been created as one way to help support the family. Johnson's friends and family will also host a benefit for him in January.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.
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