FWP and U.S. Forest Service officials have learned more about the black bear that attacked a man at Black Bear Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness last Friday.
A necropsy performed on the bear yielded further evidence tying the bear to the mauling incident. After the initial attack, the bear was able to obtain food items at the camp. FWP Investigator Brian Sommers reports that a number of items found in the bear’s stomach were consistent with items found at the camp. These included pieces of zip lock bags, dried pasta, and other food items. Sommers noted that blood on the claws of the black bear has been swabbed and will be tested to confirm a tie to the man who was mauled. As previously reported, pepper spray was evident on the bear’s fur.
Sommers and FWP Bear and Lion Specialist Erik Wenum report that the bear was a male, approximately 5-years old, and in good condition. The bear weighed 185 pounds. Sommers said that when they went into the site to dispatch it Friday afternoon, the bear displayed behavior consistent with food conditioning and habituation. The bear was killed approximately 70 yards from the scene of the attack, and was in the process of moving back towards the tent where the attack occurred.
“This was a predatory attack by this black bear,” Sommers said.
According to FWP Warden Sergeant Jon Obst, who interviewed the man who was attacked, the bear jumped on the tent about 7:30 a.m., collapsed it, tore through the fabric, and then began to maul the man. The man sprayed the bear with bear-pepper spray and it ceased its attack. The bear remained in the area until a US Forest Service employee and other trail crew members arrived at the scene and chased the bear off. ALERT was notified and the man was transported to Kalispell Regional Hospital.
After the bear was dispatched by FWP’s response team (flown in by helicopter later that afternoon), all the items at the camp were loaded in the helicopter and flown out. Usable items were returned to the family of the man who is recovering from the attack.
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