A North Carolina man has survived a black bear attack outside his home by punching the animal in the nose.

Sonny Pumphrey had a lucky escape on Tuesday afternoon when he went out to his driveway and discovered three bears in his yard.

It appeared to be a mother and two cubs. But while the cubs ran off, the mom remained.

"She made a charging, dead run at me,” Pumphrey told local television station WLOS.

“That sucker was eyeball to eyeball to me."

Stunned, Pumphrey reacted with reflex and started punching.

“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 me right here,” he said.

“I just continue pounding and pounding and pounding and she's continuing trying to bite me. She got a hold of me and then shook me a little bit, then she let go and she took a swat at me and when she took a swat at me she knocked me about eight feet over on the concrete."

Pumphrey’s wife Betty was inside their North Carolina home about to start dinner when she heard the commotion.

Going to the front door with their Yorkshire Terrier, Betty was shocked to see a bear attacking her husband.

"I seen her stand up and rared her paw back and all I seen was a mouthful of teeth,” she said.

“I knew he was going to be gone."

The dog started barking and with Pumphrey and Betty screaming, the bear ran off.

Afraid it may return, Betty got a gun from the house and fired into the woods.

Pumphrey suffered a bite to his hip and bruises.

“We have a lot to be thankful for because we were both very, very lucky," Betty said.

Pumphrey will have a series of rabies shots in the coming weeks, but admits he’s lucky to be alive.

“I could have been dead. I could have been really cut up bad," he said.

With files from WLOS