Black Bear
A man survived a bear attack by repeatedly punching the animal on its nose. In this image: Viviane, an Asian black bear is back at home in the African reserve of Sigean after 15 days of freedom when she escaped from her enclosure, July 9, 2013 Getty Images/Raymond Roig

A 78-year-old North Carolina man survived an attack from a mother bear by continuously punching the animal, reports said Saturday.

Sonny Pumphrey suffered from a bite to his hip when he was attacked outside the house. On Tuesday, he noticed three bears, a mother, and two cubs, next to him while he was on the driveway. According to Pumphrey, the cubs ran off, but the mother bear reared up and attacked him.

"Two bears went up the hill and the mama bear for some reason charged me," he said. "She made a charging dead run at me. That sucker was eyeball to eyeball to me.”

Though Pumphrey was stunned, he acted on reflex and punched the bear in the nose, reports said.

"I had nowhere to run. I could not go right and I couldn't go left," Pumphrey said, according to a report in WJHL, a dual CBS/ABC-affiliated television station. "I guess I just went with my natural instinct and just tried to protect myself."

"I hit her right dead on the point of the nose the first shot, and when I did, she went down and started trying to bite,” he added.

He said he kept hitting the bear even as it was trying to bite him.

“She got a hold of me and then shook me a little bit. Then, she let go and took a swat at me, and when she took a swat at me, she knocked me about 8 feet over on the concrete,” he said.

Reports said he suffered from a bite to his hip and multiple bruises.

Pumphrey’s wife Betty Pumphrey, 72, heard the commotion from inside the home and rushed to help her husband with their small dog, Bella. When she saw the large black bear in the driveway, she was shocked.

"I seen her stand up and rear her paw back, and all I seen was a mouthful of teeth. And I just – I knew he was going to be gone,” she said. According to a report in WBTV, a CBS-affiliated television station, the dog started barking at the sight of the bear.

"I didn't hesitate, I just went through the door and screamed, and then with the little dog barking, we tried to, you know, get [the bear] away from him," Betty said.

When the bear finally ran off, Betty got a gun from inside the house and fired into the woods to make sure the animal wouldn’t come back and then proceeded to call 911.

"I could have been dead. I could have been really cut up bad,” Pumphrey said. He was taken to a nearby hospital after the incident and will have to take a series of rabies shots but said it could have been worse. "We have a lot to be thankful for because we were both very, very lucky,” Betty said.

Reports said wildlife officials who tried to track the bear could not locate it. They said the bear came down due to lack of food.