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Idaho News

Idaho Hunter Survives Black Bear Attack

by Game & Fish Online Staff   |  May 31st, 2017 0

An Idaho hunter is recovering from serious injuries he sustained in a black bear attack during the Memorial Day weekend.

Marvin Jennings, 43, of Boise, was bitten several times in the left arm and leg before he was able to kill the bear with a handgun, according to a press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The bear had been wounded during the hunt before it attacked.

black bear attack

Jennings was airlifted to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, and was expected to recover, the Idaho Statesman reported

The bear was wounded before the attack by Jennings’ uncle, who was also on the May 28 hunt near Grimes Creek in Boise County.

Idaho Fish and Game said in the news release that the two men were hunting over a bear bait site Sunday evening when the incident occurred.


Here’s a report on the attack from KIVI-TV in Boise:

Boise County Bear Attack

Via Idaho On Your Side YouTube

The men saw the large bear approach the bait site around dusk when the uncle shot and wounded the animal, which ran away, according to the report.

After a short period of time, Jennings approached. The bear charged, knocking Jennings to the ground and both hunter and bear tumbled down a hill. The bear bit Jennings multiple times on the left arm and leg before Jennings dispatched the animal with a handgun. — Idaho Fish and Game news release

The state agency examined the bear, which was believed to be “very old” based on tooth wear.

Several local residents, a Boise County Deputy and a Boise National Forest Law Enforcement Officer assisted with this effort.

According to this Game & Fish article on bear attacks, there are some things you can do to avoid human/bear conflicts.

Reduce Risk

First off, both at home and when in the field, do everything you can do to not put yourself in danger. Don’t leave anything in and around camp, your home or your vehicles that might attract “nuisance” bears.

Obvious attractants are food (including pet food), used barbecues, garbage and — amazingly! — petroleum products like oil, gasoline and plastic water and fuel containers. Bears love to munch on these things.

Also, when in bear country, never hike through thick brush and other areas where bears may be bedded and you might accidentally stir them up.

Pepper Spray Works

Second, be prepared. Tests have shown that commercial pepper sprays are very effective when used against grizzly and brown bears, though not quite so effective against black bears.

The key is to wear the pepper spray in a holster where you can draw it quickly, should an unexpected bear encounter occur. If you can, try to get upwind of the bear so you don’t get the spray in your own eyes.

Grizzly Or Black?

Third, know that there’s a difference between how a grizzly and a black bear will attack. Generally when grizzlies attack, they are protecting their territory or their young. If you drop, cover up and wait it out, they may chew you up, but will usually leave when they think you no longer pose a threat.

Conversely, most experts believe that when black bears attack, they want to kill you. If the worst occurs and a black bear gets on you, fight back as violently as you can — again, according to the experts.

Don’t Panic

Last but not least, if you encounter a bear, do keep your cool. Talk to the bear in a low but firm voice: “Hey, bear! Here I am. I won’t hurt you if you leave me alone. How about it?”

Raise your arms and try to make yourself appear as big as you can, while slowly backing away. Always face the bear, and when it tries to circle you, do not let it get behind you. In areas where bears are aggressively hunted, if you’ll let them smell you, more times than not, they’ll run for their lives. But in areas where they show little or no fear of humans, this may not be effective at all.

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