A Boy Scout troop leader hiking in northern New Jersey with three scouts was attacked by a black bear yesterday. Christopher Petronino, 50, had just entered a cave at the Splitrock Reservoir when "a black bear grabbed Petronino’s foot and bit him on the leg, his right shoulder and his arm."

NJ Department of Environmental Proteaction spokesman Bob Considine says the bear pulled Petronino further into the cave, but "Petronino struck the bear twice in the head with a rock hammer. He then pulled his sweatshirt over his head and curled into the fetal position. He yelled to the scouts, who were outside the cave, to leave and go get help."

The scouts, one of whom was Petronino's son, called 911 but couldn't given an exact location in the 625-acre reserve. Their cellphone was tracked by officials, and NJ.com reports:

As they waited, Petronino - still inside the cave and able to hear the bear 'huffing' - instructed the children to place any food they had outside the cave, drawing the animal out, Considine said.

A dog that had come along with the group barked at the bear, sending it running up a nearby hillside. Petronino then emerged from the cave and called authorities, guiding them in their search.

Rockaway Township Police Chief Martin McPartland added that the scouts "were actually able to build a signal fire to aid the ground and aerial units."

Petronino, who was in the cave for 80 minutes and was later treated for bites and scratches, told investigators that he's been going to the cave since the 1980s but this was the first time he ever encountered a bear. He said the bear wasn't there earlier in December when he visited the cave.

DEP spokesman Considine said, "Division of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers and the Wildlife Control Unit believe the bear was protecting its hibernation location and they do not, at this point, consider the bear to be a Category I bear." (Category 1 bears are "Bears which are a threat to public safety and property.")