Bear Attack in TN - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2006, 11:27 PM   #1
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Bear kills girl, injures brother, mother in forest
By Associated Press
April 14, 2006


BENTON, Tenn. — A bear attacked a family at a campsite in Cherokee National Forest on Thursday, killing a 6-year-old girl and injuring her 2-year-old brother and mother, authorities said.
The attack took place at a pool below Benton Falls on Chilhowee Mountain, about 15 miles east of Cleveland, said Dan Hicks, spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Hicks said several witnesses described the bear picking up the boy with its mouth while the mother and other visitors tried to beat it off with sticks and rocks. The mother was also injured in the attack before the bear was chased away.

The girl ran away from the scene during the attack, Hicks said.

Her body was found later about 100 yards down the trail from the falls, with what park officials said was the same bear standing over her. A rescue worker fired at least one gunshot at the bear before it ran away.

The mother and her son were transported by helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, where both were being treated for wounds consistent with a bear attack, Hicks said.

Hospital officials did not immediately return calls for comment, but Hicks said the boy was listed in critical condition. The victims’ names were not released.

Forest Service employees, TWRA game agents and several bear hunters in the region were searching for the bear in an area spreading across several thousand acres.

The 640,000-acre park runs along the southeastern Tennessee border with North Carolina, southwest of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Hicks said black bears rarely attack humans and that the animal may have been suffering from a disease that affected its behavior.
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Old 04-14-2006, 11:29 PM   #2
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more on story........

Bear may have stalked family
By ROBERT WILSON, rlwilson2594@msn.com
April 14, 2006


BENTON, Tenn. — A black bear that attacked a family, killing a 6-year-old girl and critically injuring her 2-year-old brother and mother, may have been stalking them, authorities said Friday.
The bear attacked the family about 4:30 p.m. Thursday as they left a pool below a waterfall on Benton Springs Road in the Chilhowee Mountains in southeastern Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The 640,000-acre park runs along the Tennessee-North Carolina line southwest of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the attack site is about 70 miles southwest of Knoxville.

A witness told authorities the children had run ahead of their mother on a trail leading from the wading pool when they saw the bear, TWRA spokesman Dan Hicks said.

They turned around and ran back to her while the bear paralleled them on the trail before attacking the boy, Hicks said the witness told authorities.

The bear then attacked the mother who was trying to fend it off her son and was found standing over the girl’s body about 100 yards down a trail from the attack scene.

"I think there is a very good chance this is a predatory attack," said Bob Miller, a spokesman for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

"People forget sometimes that bears are predatory animals and may have simply seen her as something to eat."

The acorn mast, a primary staple for black bears, is low this year and other sustenance, such as berries, is not available.

The bears are subsisting on grubs and worms, he said.

"Little morsels" are all they can get, Miller said.

A witness used a cell phone to alert authorities to the attack, saying a bear had injured a boy and girl was missing. Another witness drove to a nearby ranger station.

The family, whose identities have not been released, are from Ohio and were believed to be day visitors and not campers. They were with a large group of people at the wading pool when they departed.

The bear grabbed the boy’s head in his mouth, Hicks said witnesses told investigators. The mother and other visitors began battling the bear with sticks and rocks when she was attacked.

The bear dragged the woman about 50 yards off the trail, Hicks said, before being frightened off.

The other visitors realized the girl was missing and began searching for her. About 10 minutes into their search, the visitors were joined by some members of the West Polk Fire and Rescue Squad.

After an intense 20-minute search they discovered the girl’s badly mangled body about 100 yards down a trail with the bear standing over her, Hicks said.

Squad member Danny Stinnett shot the bear once with a .380-caliber pistol, Hicks said, and it ran away from the girl. Stinnett said he hit the bear.

No blood was found at the scene, authorities said, and the bear has not been seen since.

A search for the animal was suspended about 2 a.m. Friday, and authorities placed two culvert-type traps baited with honey buns and donuts trying to lure the bear.

Friday morning they were awaiting six more traps and snare-type traps.

The search has been called while they see if the traps will be successful. All of the campers in the area, which has 88 campsites, have been removed.

The trapping area is 1,000 acres around the waterfalls and is about 10 miles from the nearest highway.

The boy and mother were taken to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga where both were in surgery until early today.

The boy had puncture and claw wounds, particularly to the back of his head, Hicks said. His prognosis is good, but he is in critical condition.

The mother had lacerations and punctures to her right upper arm and thigh, Hicks said. She is under sedation, in critical condition and unable to talk.

"We have not been able to talk to her," Hicks said. "She may not remember the attack at all."

The bear actually picked up the mother in its mouth, Hicks said.

"A bear that could this would probably weigh between 350 and 400 pounds," Hicks said.

The little girl’s body was taken to a mortuary in Cleveland, funeral home owner Ralph Buckner said.

While authorities don’t know the gender of the bear or the cause of the attack, Hicks said bears are territorial.

"Male bears, however, this time of year get very territorially," Hicks said. "That may have been what happened to these people, he was protecting his territory."

Black bears rarely attack people, and authorities also are considering whether it is suffering from a disease that affected its behavior.

"It is possible that the bear has some kind of disease, possibly even rabies, that have caused this," Hicks said. "It might even be a parasite."

Any bears found in the area will be euthanized and taken to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine where a necropsy will be performed.

There have been 42 sightings of bears in the national forest in the past two weeks, Hicks said, but this is the time of year that bears become active.

In May 2000, a woman was killed by a black bear near Gatlinburg in the national park. Glena Ann Bradley, a schoolteacher from Cosby, was attacked by two female bears when she took a walk on a trail near a Smoky Mountains campground.

Miller said that attack was a predatory one.
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Old 04-14-2006, 11:58 PM   #3
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I guess the lesson here is to stay away from bear country.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:31 AM   #4
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That was on news up here also.Its a shame but wild life areas are being over run by humans,so extreme caution should be the practice while being in possible wild life areas.These animals are not tame but some people seem to think so.Ive seen people(visitors) try to feed wild life.There idots.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:36 AM   #5
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I don't think we can or should necesarily stay away from bear country, but we need to learn bear behavior. We need to be vigilant and remember that these cute bears in the Smokey Mountains and surrounding areas are wild animals. We are entering their territory and need to respect that.

This is a tragic story and my heart goes out to that family.

Kathy
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Old 04-15-2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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What struck me most about this story is that it seems like very peculiar behavior for a bear. There's got to be something wrong with that bear.

mkw
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Old 04-15-2006, 12:26 PM   #7
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What struck me most about this story is that it seems like very peculiar behavior for a bear. There's got to be something wrong with that bear.

mkw
I agree, but also, when the kids saw the bear, they ran. That is the worst thing one can do when confronted with a bear. However, they were just kids and the flight instinct is strong.

It is really such a sad story---

Diane
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Old 04-15-2006, 12:43 PM   #8
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We also have to be aware of the wild animals around us. We have bears in and around our town most of the year. Two dogs were killed by a mountain lion about 3 miles away in separate attacks in the past 2 weeks. Coyotes are a constant threat to pets so we have to be aware and take precautions.
The governing "rule-of-thumb" is we (people) are invading their territory, and we must behave accordingly. If you can't deal with it, go live where you can't appreciate wildlife except in a zoo.. A big part of the reason the rest of us live here, is to enjoy the beauty and proximity of nature. Pet cats must be kept indoors, and dogs must be confined in runs or on a leash... or become part of the food chain. It's pretty simple, but some people, and their pets, just have to learn things the hard way.
If you require sidewalks and street lights, the constant sound of sirens and relish the racket of power mowers please don't come here and try to make nature conform to your rules. I guess we who live year round in the mountains simply "step to a different drummer", but we cherish living a little closer to nature and we educate our youth to be more aware of their surroundings.
I'm not sure which would be worse , getting hit by a car and being drug a 1/4 mile before getting hit by another driver, or getting jumped by a cougar and becoming his dinner. Being hit by the car is much more likely as can be confirmed by any newspaper. When you read about a person having a tragic encounter with an animal it becomes international news, but a newspaper in the next city doesn't publish the person/vehicle encounter because they are so common.
"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!"
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:15 PM   #9
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Bears are very agressive this time of year. They've just come out of hibernation and are looking for food to put back on what they lost over the winter. Even so contact like this with black bears is rare.
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:50 PM   #10
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When you read about a person having a tragic encounter with an animal it becomes international news, but a newspaper in the next city doesn't publish the person/vehicle encounter because they are so common.
"That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!"
Kurt & Ann K.
Yup That's the way it is. But look on the bright side, every time something like this makes a big news splash it keeps some people out our favorite places. I thank the news media for keeping some people away.
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Old 04-15-2006, 07:35 PM   #11
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Although black bear attacks ARE rare- when you see those nature shows, on how black bears will actively HUNT for new fawns in the spring.... cause they are HUNGRY as well... Bears!!!........... One highly respects black bears!

What a HUGE animal. And those sows come out with twin cubs... look out! Those cubs would be so curious of you- and you stop to admire the cubs... yikes! here comes Momma

We have Black Bears here where I live, so I sing and don't walk quietly when I take walks in my woods here. And I have three dogs with me- I am always hoping that the three dogs, since they are all maniac hunter types , not the kind that run away and leave you alone..... would be enough help to distract that bear from me!!!!!

But the BEST thing to do for all of us humans who camp, and hike in the wilds is to carry Bear Spray on your belt! All the time in the woods!

If Bear Spray has help people to change a grizzly bear from killing them- it ought to be very good on a black bear!!

How HORRID for that family. I cannot imagine how folks go on living after such tragedies sometimes, you could die of heartbreak.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:39 PM   #12
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I agree with carrying bear spray. My daughter and her best friend are going to the Rockies for 3 weeks and have been taught how to use it and will be carrying it at all times. Planning and training can save your life. Learn about the threats where you are going and think about what you would do in possible threatening situtations. If you rely on instinct, you could be a meal.
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Old 04-15-2006, 11:53 PM   #13
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Bear spray----I am not trying to say not use Bear Spray,BUT if I am that close to a Bear,I think I am already in big trouble.Thats my feelings.
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Old 04-16-2006, 12:20 AM   #14
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I saw an interesting statistic tonight. So better make sure you take all the protection you can to protect from those nasty bears. You could just be number 57 killed within the last 100 years. That's right in the past 100 years there have been 56 people killed by black bears.

I think we all should park our cars and stay home. There's an average of about 120 deaths caused by vehicle accidents every day.

But we gotta talk and do all sorts of things to protect ourselves from them bears.
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