Man who lost jaw in Utah bear attack jokes he’s ready for ‘round two’

A man who lost his lower jaw in a grizzly bear attack and is preparing to leave the hospital in Utah after the horrifying ordeal has joked he is ready for “round two” if he ever meets another ursine foe in the wilderness.

Navy veteran Rudy Noorlander, 61, underwent three operations to repair his face at the University of Utah Health hospital in Salt Lake City after the bear attacked him in Custer Gallatin national forest close to Big Sky, Montana.

But Noorlander – who spoke to journalists by writing on a marker board – is in good humor as he recovers from his injuries. “I will win round two,” Noorlander jokingly wrote on his board in reference to his plans to return to exploring nature and snowboarding.

The bear attack happened after Noorlander helped hunters locate a deer they thought they had killed, the family’s GoFundMe campaign said. He pulled out a gun but was unable to scare it off and it bit off his lower jaw. The hunters he was helping eventually chased the animal away and got help.

Noorlander is expected to make a full recovery but is working to recover his full ability to eat and talk.

In a letter read to reporters by his daughter, Noorlander again expressed his remarkable cheerfulness and said: “Soon, I’m going to be a free-range chicken and won’t be hooked up to anything.”

He also said he was looking forward to being able to drink normally again. “That first root beer float is going to taste so amazing,” the letter said.