BIG SKY, MT – A former Navy serviceman, Rudy Noorlander, is battling for his life after a brutal encounter with a grizzly bear in Montana. Noorlander, who runs Alpine Adventures in Big Sky, was assisting a hunting expedition near Yellow Mule Trail when he stumbled upon two grizzly bears. The ensuing attack left him severely injured, including a torn-off jaw inflicted by a 10-foot bear.
Noorlander was aiding a group of hunters who had rented his all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for their expedition. The hunters had shot a deer but were unable to locate it, prompting Noorlander to join the search. During this pursuit, he encountered an adult grizzly bear.
While he initially tried to scare off the bear with his firearm, another larger and more aggressive bear attacked him before he could react. His weapon misfired, and he was unable to retrieve his bear spray in time, leaving him to defend himself with his bare hands against the enormous creature.
Despite the terrifying ordeal, Noorlander managed to stay conscious for two hours as rescue crews worked tirelessly to airlift him to Bozeman Health Deaconess Regional Medical Center. His daughter, KateLynn Davis, described her father’s resilience as an “amazing feat of strength,” noting that he did not lose consciousness due to fear, pain, or blood loss.
After initial treatment at Bozeman Deaconess, Noorlander was transferred to the University of Utah Hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover Noorlander’s mounting medical bills, raising over $16,000 of their $25,000 goal so far.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the growing grizzly bear population in Montana, as wildlife officials have warned. Noorlander’s experience underscores the need for increased awareness and preparedness when venturing into these animals’ territories.