Camille Bomboy’s family hunting trip took a turn for the worse when she ran afoul of a black bear sow and her cubs. The 18-year-old was hunting for deer near her family farm in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania on Monday with her stepfather and stepbrother when three bear cubs ran past her. Wherever cubs are present, their mother is usually not far away. Bomboy’s stepbrother Kyle Courter initially thought that the adult bear had ignored her, but quickly found this was not the case.
“Next thing I know, I hear my sister scream. I figure, the bear ran by her and scared her,” Courter told WTAJ. “Then she started screaming again and it was louder and she didn’t stop, so I went running.”
Bomboy had turned around to find the mother bear angry and ready to charge. Although black bears rarely attack humans unprovoked, a sow with cubs in tow can be very protective of her brood. The encounter left Bomboy with deep bite marks on her arms as well as scratches across her chest and head. The estimated 300-pound bear could have done more damage, if not for the intervention of Bomboy’s stepfather.
“By time I got there I heard a couple of gunshots,” Kyle Courter told WNEP.
His father had shot twice into the air, spooking the bear. The animal retreated into the path of Courter, who fired an additional shot and wounded it in the shoulder. The bear eventually limped away and neither residents nor wildlife conservation officers have seen the bear or cubs since the attack.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is investigating the incident and is currently setting up traps near the area. Wildlife officials have said that they will attempt to relocate the bear family if possible. Bears that attack humans are usually euthanized but sows with cubs present a special problem, as the death of the adult would likely doom the cubs.
Bomboy is still recovering from her injuries in a local hospital and is listed in fair condition.
Image courtesy John Parke/USFWS