Bears 2, Locals 1 (Hunting Officials Urge Caution)

Two men were injured on the same day in Western North Carolina by black bears. (Photo: Courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

2 area residents injured by black bears on same weekend; officials urge caution

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — An attempt to tree a bear in North Carolina has ended with a hunter injured and the bear dead.

North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission Capt. Andrew Helton told the Asheville Citizen Times the hunter rolled off a slight cliff with the 350-pound (159-kilogram) bear on Saturday.

Helton says the hunter was with another man who had shot the bear while it was in a tree near Mount Sterling in Haywood County. The bear fell out of the tree and began biting the hunter. The bear walked away after the two tumbled off the cliff.

Helton says Wildlife Resource officers found the bear dead on Sunday. It was taken to a state Department of Agriculture lab for rabies testing. The hunter was taken to a hospital in Asheville with several injuries.

Nov. 6, 2019

Asheville Citizen Times – On Nov. 2, a Spruce Pine man was sitting outdoors at dusk when a mama bear, or sow, and her cub came through his front yard, said wildlife law enforcement officer Jared Thompson, who investigated the incident.

The homeowner’s Great Dane was naturally intrigued and “went to check out the bear,” Thompson said, and then engaged in a fight with the sow.

“The homeowner went to break up the fight, doing everything you’re taught to do, make yourself look big and yell at the bear.

When the sow disengaged from the dog, she quickly bit the male on his left forearm, which he put out in defense, and then she ran away.

The victim drove himself to the hospital and was treated and released the same night … ”

Second incident in Haywood County

Also on Nov. 2, a man who was hunting black bears in Pisgah National Forest suffered bites to his stomach, scratches and bites to his legs, and a fractured pelvis, said Capt. Andrew Helton, Wildlife Commission law enforcement officer for WNC.

The hunter was transported to Mission Hospital in Asheville and released Nov. 3.

The victim and others in his hunting party had treed a bear with their hunting dogs in the morning in a remote area of the forest, off I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge, very near the Tennessee state line and just outside the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Once a bear is up in a tree, hunters typically will catch the dogs while another hunter shoots a bear to get it down, Helton said.

In this instance, when the bear was shot, it “tumbled out and started biting the hunter holding the dogs.”

“Then the bear continued at him until the man and the bear rolled off a slight cliff,” he said. The bear was estimated at 350-375 pounds.

After reaching the bottom, the bear … Read more.