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Man severely bitten by bear in Clinch County

October 4, 2011

By Dean Poling, The Valdosta Daily Times

HOMERVILLE, Ga. — A black bear bit a Macclenny, Fla., hunter this past weekend during a Clinch County hunting expedition, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Mitch Canady, 54, of Macclenny received severe bite injuries to his right wrist, arm, chest and pelvic area, said Rick Lavender, a DNR spokesman.

Canady had to be air-lifted from Clinch County to Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., where he’s being treated for his injuries.

Canady was among a group of experienced hunters using dogs to hunt bear Saturday morning in southern Clinch County. A black bear ran past an unidentified hunter who, from a standing position on the ground, shot the bear twice with double 00 buckshot from a 12-gauge shotgun, Lavender said.

The shots stopped the bear but did not kill the estimated 350-pound animal, Lavender said. This hunter, Canady and others reportedly approached the bear, shooting it a third time. The bear still lived.

One of the hunting dogs ran up to the bear and bit it.

The bear bolted, Lavender said, and ran into Canady. The bear knocked him to the ground and bit him. The bites caused the most damage to the wrist and left puncture wounds in Canady’s chest and pelvis, according to DNR Ranger First-Class Jason Shipes’ report.

“While the victim was on the ground with the bear on top of him, the other hunter pulled and kicked the 350-pound animal off of the victim and was able to shoot the bear a fourth time, killing it,” Shipes reports. “The victim was transported to the nearest highway by members of the hunting party to meet up with emergency-medical technicians.”

Shipes and Sgt. Patrick Dupree responded to Georgia Highway 187 and Tower Road to investigate.

The incident occurred during last week’s brief but legal bear-hunting season running from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 in a handful of South Georgia counties, including Clinch.

South Georgia has a population of black bear near the Okefenokee Swamp and neighboring counties.

“I would hesitate to call it an attack,” Lavender said of the incident, “since we’re dealing with a wounded animal. The dog bit it and the bear just ran and ran into this hunter.”

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