‘I can’t imagine he was anything more than curious:’ Springfield Cardinals player bit by bear

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Cardinals pitching prospect was bitten by a black bear while hunting in Wisconsin.

Dalton Roach, 25, with the Springfield Cardinals, thought it would be a regular day hunting in the woods. But instead, something else was hunting him.

“A lot of excitement for one day,” said Roach. “That was the first time in my years of actually being in the woods as a hunter, that I’ve actually seen a, like a wild bear while I’m hunting.”

Roach started hunting when he was 12-years-old. But before then, his dad would take him out to the woods and into the trees.

Roach at first thought the bear was just making its way through the forest, but soon the bear was directly under his tree. Then the bear started to climb its way toward Roach.

Roach tells OzarksFirst what happened next:

“I wasn’t in a great position to defend myself,” said Roach. “He’s behind me. But even like, before I could feel him breathing on me. He actually had his paw kind of on my right hip. So, I was in the worst position because if I move and it freaks him out, I don’t know if he’s going to try and grab me or what might happen.”

The bear bit Roach in the back. Once he feels the pressure of the bite, his flight or fight mode kicks in.

“I jump up from sitting and now I can turn to face him,” said Roach. “You know, I kept my arm big and wide that way and then just tried to act as big as I could. Just trying to get as large as humanely possible and just started yelling at him.”

This bear wasn’t in the mood to fight so it climbed down the tree and left.

“I think we’re pretty lucky that the way everything went,” Roach said. “I can’t imagine he was anything more than curious. My wife would love me to say, you know, he was curious not furious. He wasn’t in a position of like true aggression, fortunately, because otherwise, it just would have gone differently.”

Roach went to the hospital and received 24 shots. 22 of those shots were rabies shots which were administered around the bear bite.

“That was probably the most uncomfortable thing, you know, other than having a bear in the tree with me,” said Roach. “It was like 22 bee stings over and over.”

He said the bite wasn’t too deep, as only two teeth punctured the skin. Roach has a couple of more appointments this week to get booster shots. He said he did not catch any deer during his time in the woods.

“Ten minutes before [the bear] came in, I actually had a couple of deer come right under my stand as well,” Roach said. “They never presented shop for me and actually as I was leaving the woods, you know, heading back to my truck. I was walking out and there actually was a deer, you know, big doe perfectly broadside. Well within my bow range that I could have shot. But kind of with the whole situation, I’m like, you know what, I’ve done enough tonight. I just need to get out of the woods like lucky day for her.”

Roach said this will not impact his ability to pitch. He said he’s already weightlifting and training.

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