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Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2007

MI - Hunter survives attack from 430-pound black bear

Wounded animal falls from tree, grabs hunting dog and bites man before it finally dies.

George Hunter / The Detroit News

Steven Remsing is swearing off bear hunting after surviving an attack Sunday by a 430-pound black bear while hunting with friends in the Upper Peninsula.

Remsing, a 45-year-old Sterling Heights computer repairman who describes himself as an avid hunter, was recovering Monday from arm and leg injuries in Marquette General Hospital after Sunday's attack. He was listed in stable condition.

"We were bear hunting up in Ontonagon County, and we saw a bear go up a tree," Remsing said Monday in a telephone interview from his hospital room. "I took a shot, and the bear started to move. Then he fell down. Normally, they'll just run off into the woods, but this one turned and started attacking one of our dogs.

"We were out of bullets, so we started beating the bear," Remsing said. "We were using logs, and whatever we could grab. We knew the bear was going to die, but it was ripping the dog apart and we had to do something."

As Remsing and his friends were trying to dislodge the bear's jaws from the Walker Coonhound, the bear suddenly turned and sank its teeth into Remsing's arm.

"I was able to pull my arm out of its mouth and kick it in the nose," Remsing said. "It bit me one more time in the leg, and then it rolled down a hill and died."

The bear weighed in at 430 pounds, Remsing said.

Remsing said he isn't hurt too badly. "He took a nice chunk out of my forearm, but I'm okay," he said. The dog survived the attack, he said.

Black bears can be dangerous -- especially when they're wounded -- said Lt. Creig Grey of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "It's a wild animal," Grey said. "And if it's injured, it's going to fight back.

"An analogy I use with bears is: I wouldn't recommend anyone grab a dog that weighs 60 pounds, so obviously I wouldn't recommend trying to grab a bear," Grey said. "These are very powerful animals. I've seen them go right through the side of a building, or knock a door right off the frame if there's something in there they want. So people need to stay away from them."

There are between 15,000 to 19,000 black bears in Michigan, according to the DNR. About 90 percent of them live in the Upper Peninsula.

You can reach George Hunter at (586) 468-7396 or ghunter@detnews.com.

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