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Get Me My Frying Pan!

Sad news from K-country: one-eyed nature photographer and veteran outdoorsman Jim Cole has died.

And for those who knew his story, Mr. Cole died in a totally unexpected way: peacefully.

See, Mr. Cole was not born with one eye. He lost it, and other chunks of skin and muscle, to the mauling claws of TWO Grizzly Bears. (For the scientists among us: Ursus arctos horribilis) (OR, for the Colbertphiles among us, Godless Killing Machines.)

In recorded history, Mr. Cole is apparently the only human to have survived two grisly Grizzly attacks and have lived to tell about it.

Lean, nimble, and curious, Mr. Cole was born in Chicago before a chance sighting of a black bear at summer camp changed the course of his life.

He became enchanted by the animal's brutish power and spent the rest of his adult life researching their larger cousins in Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming. On occasion, he'd come within 20 feet of the bears in order to get close up shots in their habitats.

Mr. Cole's first attack came in 1993 while he was hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana. He surprised a bruin on the trail and the large male thumped him with his paw. Mr. Cole suffered injuries to his head and arm before a friend chased the animal away with pepper mace.

(He should have had a much more effective weapon: an eight inch cast iron skillet! Irving Fans? Anyone?)

The second attack came in 2007 when he stumbled upon a female grizzly with her cub in tall grass. The she-bear swiped at his face with her claws and took out his eye and mangled his face.

After the attack, his nose, jaw and cheeks had to be surgically repaired.

He wrote multiple books about his outdoor life, including "Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear."

You can visit his Web site here: http://www.grizzlystories.com/

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  September 3, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro  | Tags: Grizzly bears, Jim Cole, John Irving, Stephen Colbert  
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