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Bears before attack (courtesy

According to the New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish’s press release [full text after the jump], “conservation officers are searching for a bear that attacked a 60-year-old man from Missouri who was elk hunting Thursday afternoon west of Wagon Mound.” The hunter snapped the photo above – despite the sow’s anti-papparazzi protestations. The bear then chased the sneaky photog up a tree. WAY up. Fearing for his life, the hunter fired a warning shot and “four other shots.” To no avail; the bear munched on his foot. Hmmm. I wonder what he’d say about caliber now, and why The Land of Enchantment’s DoGF’s bear aversion advice doesn’t include the words “high caliber” . . .

New Mexico -( Department of Game and Fish conservation officers are searching for a bear that attacked a 60-year-old man from Missouri who was elk hunting Thursday afternoon west of Wagon Mound.

The hunter climbed a tree to try to escape the attacking bear, but received bites to his foot through his boot when the bear climbed up after him. He was taken to the Alta Vista Hospital in Las Vegas, N.M., where he was treated and released.

Officers used dogs to search for the offending bear soon after the attack, but rain caused the scent to deteriorate and the bear was not found. A trap was set in the area. Officers will continue to search for the bear to test it for rabies. Bear hair was found at the attack site and will help in identifying the offending bear.

The hunter said he was eating lunch under a tree stand when a sow and cub came to the water hole where he was hunting. He took photographs and video of the bears before the attack and said he had seen five other bears that morning. The hunter fell 15 feet from the tree at one point but was able to climb back up. 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. 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 incident was the fourth this year resulting in injuries and the second this week in which a bear attack resulted in injuries to a human. Wednesday, a female bear with a cub attacked a runner on a trail near Los Alamos. The runner was being treated at a Santa Fe hospital. The search for that bear was suspended Friday because dogs could not find a scent.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Stop, and back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact, as the bear may consider that a threat. Do not run. Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

If you live or camp in bear country:

  • Keep garbage in airtight containers inside your garage or storage area. Place garbage outside in the morning just before pickup, not the night before. Occasionally clean cans with ammonia or bleach.
  • Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as sweet treats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.
  • Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
  • Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
  • Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
  • Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site

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      • But he had to get some pics and video for his Instagram!

        If I’m hunting elk, and I find myself that close to a mama bear, I’m not reaching for a camera, I’m reaching for that elk rifle, and getting the hell out of there.

        • There’s a weird (to sane people anyway) affect of “immunity from reality” that some folks think photographers/videographers are magically imbued with. These are the meat puppets who take bear selfies, do suicidal sh*t just because the GoPro is on their helmet(!), and generally have no clue that nature is the same mother, regardless of your status as documentarian.

          I’m sure someone has come up with fancy Latin name for it, but I have yet to see it in the DSM. Maybe next edition…

    • …Then there was the time I was in my deer stand and three cubs decided they wanted a closer look. I heard momma call from behind me and I looked at the three cubs almost gnawing on my feet, then at the four arrows in my bow quiver, and wondered just how many momma bears can I kill immediately with four little arrows?
      Sometimes running isn’t an option no matter what you want to think.

      • And that is why you should carry a .44 Magnum revolver (with 6 inch barrel) when you are hunting for deer with archery equipment.

  1. Warning shot, righttttt. Does not say if bear was hit with remaining 4 shots. I can understand the stress being chased and munched on. A wasted round fired off and was he intending to actually shot the bear or fire off 4 continued warning shots.

  2. Uhhh, he was hunting Elk with a rifle I presume. I guess you cant shoot video and hold the rifle at the same time. What could possibly go wrong?

    • 460 is a revolver strapped to chest. My guess rifle is on ground. Recoil out the wahzoo, esp being chased.

  3. “Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.”

    I grew up camping in bear country and had this instilled into me at a very early age. To follow this rule and keep your tent free of food smells, you cannot eat in your tent even if not presently camping in bear country.

    It now bugs me when we go camping and others let their small children take food and drinks into their tents. I’ve seen this at numerous Cub Scout camp outs, for example. It’s just “ugh…don’t!”

    These Scout camp-outs ARE in bear country, too. The world record heaviest black bear killed hunting came from our county, and it was 880 lbs.

    So, it kinda bugs me when nearby tents have a bunch of food crumbs in them.

  4. You know the old saying: “Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear chases you up a tree and rips your foot off at the ankle.”

  5. What, no selfie with the bear?

    Looks to me that the bear has that “You lookin’ at me?” facial expression. Guess, tha Hunter didn’t see that film.

  6. I’m guessing that he did not want to kill the bear due to the cub, hence the warning shot and ineffectual fire.

  7. All this avoidance stuff is great, but nothing comes close to immediate access to a good firearm. Access to weapons put Homo Sapiens at the top of the food chain. Leaving weapons at home puts you at the mercy of all of Mother Nature’s beasts, and many of those aren’t particularly kind.

  8. I noticed that “once attacked, shoot bear and keep shooting until attack stops or ammunition depleted” wasn’t offered as advice for bear encounters.

  9. I would do my damn best to avoid shooting a sow with cub(s) but I would draw the line well before my foot was getting chewed on. I used to carry a Glock 26 bow hunting until I had a bear get within about 10 yards in very heavy NH brush while turkey hunting one fine morning. Now its Glock 29 with delta point and alternating 200 g hard cast and 200 g jhp buffalo bore. The fire ball that comes out of that thing is scary enough to scare all but the most determined beast. The lead is just a bonus.

  10. Hey Boo Boo, lets go and get a pick a nick basket!
    Yogi, what has Ranger Smith told you about that?
    I don’t care what Range Smith has to say, I’ve got a date with Cindi!

  11. I used to do a lot of hiking in WA State, the Cascade Mountains. Lots of wildlife – including bears. Some of my friends went armed with .357 or .44s. I never carried anything. Something I did learn though. IF you are going to shoot a charging bear, do not shoot for the head. Their brains are about the size of a walnut, and their skulls are extremely thick. Even if you did manage shoot them in the head as they are running at you bouncing up and down, and lets face it, that would be a difficult shot at best, you would probably get them in the side of the head or the face. All this would do is tick them off even more than they already are. A bear with the side of his head blown off still has an intact brain controlling his instincts, which are to mow you down. The thing to do is aim for a front shoulder. It will be a much larger target and easier to hit. Taking out a shoulder will cause the beast to stumble to that side, kind of like taking a front tire out on a car that is moving forward. Once the animal goes down you can either get a better shot at the head or vitals, or at least you stand a better chance of running away. As for going up a tree – yeah – not so good. Bears like climbing trees. I did notice that the article did not say anything about balling up and becoming as small and tight as possible. Instead it says to appear as big as you can. This is contrary to what I have heard for years. Interesting.

    • Years ago a co-worker responding to a never heard of before sighting of a black bear at a State Park in East Texas and was attempting to follow and keep the bear in sight until the Game Warden arrived, and had decided that should the bear turn around and head in his direction he’d just shimmie up the nearest tree to safety. He was shocked when the pursued black bear hit a 50ft Pine tree at a fairly brisk pace and never slowed down until it reached the top. For some reason my co-worker who’d only seen bears on television was under the impression adult bears can’t climb trees, the Game Warden told him he must have based this obviously incorrect assumption about bears in general with grizzly bear behavior and offered the advice that if one day he decided to trail a grizzly bear, just because a grizzly doesn’t usually climb trees or may not like to climb trees doesn’t mean it can’t climb trees.

  12. 16 V It is unfortunate that ISIS has used the video camera BUT the photog’s that thought they were immune
    put THEMSELVES in that hell hole should have gone hunting instead. It is also unfortunate that the MOTHER bear will most probably die because of his stupidity and her cubs because of that. I think Darwinism needs more time nd space to practice what it doe, thin the heard. No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.
    Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word.

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