Michigan wildlife officials will try to euthanize a mother black bear that mauled a bow hunter in a tree stand along with her three cubs in the northern Lower Peninsula.
21-year old Chad Fortune said the mother bear and three large cubs attacked him Saturday evening in a stand in Emmett County’s Bear Creek Township, near Petoskey.
The Walloon Lake resident was hunting deer when the attack occurred. He said he punched, kicked and screamed at the bears as they tried to reach the tree stand, about 15 feet off the ground. Fortune was rescued two hours later and received 40 stitches in his leg.
Officials with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment said Tuesday that the mother bear is dangerous because she’s lost her fear of humans.
“There have been several other reports of this bear and her cubs wandering around houses, so we have no choice but to err on the side of caution,” said Russ Mason, the department’s top wildlife official.
“I know that if we do euthanize her it will get some people angry, but the cubs are old enough to make it fine on their own,” Mason said. It also may not be possible to kill her, he added.
“The problem may solve itself,” Mason noted. “The bears will be going into hibernation for the winter in two or three weeks.”
Fortune, a car dealership service adviser, said he thought of his fiancee and their 3-month-old twin sons as he fought off the bears. At first, he said, he didn’t think he was badly injured.
“I could feel some blood dripping, but I didn’t know how bad I was hurt,” he said. “I thought at first that it had just kind of scratched me.”
Fortune said a man who lives near where he was hunting “had all four of those bears up on his front porch, and they weren’t afraid of him. People are seeing a lot more bears around here.”
Fortune said he isn’t sure he’ll be going back to Bear Creek Township anytime soon, but if he does he plans to be more heavily armed.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)