Officials: Bear Attacked New Mexico Hunter after He Photographed It

   09.24.15

Many photographers ascribe to the philosophy of capturing nature in a picture and leaving it undisturbed, but what if nature wants to disturb you?

Officials with the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish say that an elk hunter was attacked near Wagon Mound shortly after photographing a bear sow and her cub. The 60-year-old man was hunting from a treestand in the area on September 10 when he descended to take a short lunch. While he was relaxing, several bears passed by and two got into the pond right in front of his tree stand to cool off. The hunter decided to take advantage of the opportunity and began taking photographs of the bears, but that seemed to draw the wrong kind of attention.

Regardless of whether the sow was drawn to the food or thought the hunter was a threat, it lumbered out of the pond and started chasing the hunter. The man was able to climb back up the tree before the bear reached him. However, officials said the man suffered bites to his feet and legs after the bear climbed up after him. At one point, the hunter fell nearly 15 feet before he was able to catch himself and return to the treestand.

“He also had a pistol and had fired a warning shot and four other shots from the tree at the bear, but it would not retreat,” officials stated in a press release. “He radioed his guide to help him after the attack ended. The guide told officers that the hunter was nearly to the top of the 50-foot tree when he arrived.”

The hunter was taken to a hospital in Las Vegas and later released.

Experts do not usually advise climbing trees to escape a bear attack, but in this situation it seemed to be the right call.

Wildlife officers confirmed that they are searching for the bear and have laid out traps for its capture, but they did not state whether the bear will euthanized if found. This incident marked the fourth bear attack in New Mexico this year. Earlier this month, a runner near Los Alamos was also attacked and bitten while running on a wilderness trail.

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