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.

Image courtesy New Mexico Game and Fish

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3 thoughts on “Officials: Bear Attacked New Mexico Hunter after He Photographed It

  1. I can see the only time you Steve sees abear is on tv, books or zoo. 97% of the time. The loud gunshots are enough to make a difference. Yes there is the 3%. But if you hunt in THEIR TERRITORY, home ground, this can happen! Yes, you are in their home! Would you get pissed if you found a person in your home? And ask your wife if she would protect her children, NO MATTER WHAT! This is the chance we all take when we go into the dark scary woods. And for your information, I have seen a bear shot with a 44 mag at 25-30 ft. Hit right above the eyes in the middle of the head, scull, and keep coming! Rocked him but really pissed him off more! Ask men who hunt bears? They will tell you that there is no such thing as a one shot kill on bears! Yes there has been a few. But very very rare! Yes, I have hunted bears. New Mexico, Colorado and Montana. Stopped at 19! My last one? Will be between him and me. Will take that one to my grave! Have written it down. And my kids will understand when they read it. So I will say, learn bears! Carry bear spray. Make noise if not hunting. Hell, I had small loud bells on my spurs and on my pack mules halters! Let them know, Hey! I am here! And if you carry a gun Know how to use it! And if you have one attack? Know you can hit it and not just crap your pants! Stand your ground! Even with every muscle in your body telling you to RUN YOU FOOL!

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