TREMPEALEAU COUNTY, Wis. (KTVI) — A St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect is recovering after being bitten by a black bear while bow hunting in Wisconsin.
Dalton Roach, a 25-year-old righty with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram it was the first time he had ever seen a bear on the family-owned land where he’d been hunting for years.
Roach posted a 7-10 record with a 5.65 ERA in 2021 for the Springfield Cardinals, according to MiLB.com.
Roach told the paper he was in a tree stand about 20 feet off the ground and grabbed his cellphone to document the encounter.
Roach said first the bear was just moseying around at first, but when he got about 20 yards away, he took a turn and came directly under his tree.
“I thought, ‘OK, it’s time to put the phone away. I want to be hands-free now,'” he told the paper.
He said he then heard scratching and realized that the bear was climbing the tree and heading toward him.
Roach said the next thing he knew, the bear was right behind him and he could feel him breathing on his back.
“Then I feel a paw on my lap. He just kind of left the paw sitting there, so it’s not like I wanted to make a big move and make him squeeze,” he told the paper.
Roach said when he felt the gear on his back tighten he realized the bear was biting him. He decided he had to do something to try and free himself.
He had always heard bears are more scared of people than the other way around. Roach told the paper he made himself as big as he could and started yelling.
Roach said it worked because the bear backed down. Once the bear was out of sight, he headed for his truck.
“I think I still had so much adrenaline pumping that there wasn’t tons of pain going on, and I could tell there wasn’t a lot of blood dripping,” Roach told the Telegram-Leader.
He got the wound checked out at a hospital. The staff cleaned the bite, gave him antibiotics and a tetanus shot. He also got his first of what will be 22 injections of the rabies vaccine.
Roach said during the incident, he was focused on getting free. After, he admits thinking that if the bear had been more aggressive, he might not have been looking forward to pursuing a career in the Major Leagues or spending time with his family.