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PA: Hunter attacked by bear in Gregg Township

October 19, 2010

Hunter attacked by bear in Gregg Township

SPRING MILLS - Game commission officers confirmed Tuesday that a hunter from Aaronsburg was attacked by a bear while he was archery hunting from a tree stand near Upper Georges Valley Road Monday night.

Law enforcement supervisor, Rick Macklem, said that officers were able to talk to the man, hospitalized at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

The hunter told the officer that it was around 6:30 p.m. that he noticed a mother bear and four cubs approach the tree he was perched on. One cub climbed the tree, and the hunter was able to shoo it away.

"The cub turns around and got off of the tree." Macklem said. "At some point the (mother) for whatever reason ... protective instincts come into play, she thought something was happening to one of her cubs. She went to the tree... climbed the tree, bit him or swatted him. The hunter was able to situate himself, sort of away from the bear and was able to kick at the bear. By doing that, the bear went back down the tree."

During the struggle, the hunter fell onto a rocky area, Macklem said. The 15-foot fall injured him further, but the man was able to scare off the bears and call 911 for help. Macklem said he walked out of the woods.

He was later life-flighted to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for treatment. It was unclear the extent of his injuries, or if he was still hospitalized. Macklem did not release his identity.

"When he fell out of the tree, supposedly nothing happened," Macklem said. "The bear did not bite him or swat at him on the ground."

This week was the beginning of muzzleloader season, which overlaps with archery season for deer. Legal bear hunting doesn't start in Pennsylvania until the end of November, Macklem said.

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