04 Sep 2007

Bear Attacks 51 Year-Old in County Park

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Seattle Times:

The man was biking, with his two dogs, in Banner Forest Heritage Park near Olalla around noon when he encountered the bear, said Ron Powers, a battalion chief for South Kitsap Fire and Rescue. The dogs were in front of him on the trail when he heard them barking. He came around a blind corner and was face to face with the bear, Powers said.

The bear charged, and the man picked up his bike to protect himself. But the bear reached through the bike and ripped at the man’s arm, face, back, neck and ear before backing off, Powers said.

“We haven’t had an unprovoked attack like this in a lot of years,” Jackson said. “You’d have to go back 30 or 40 years at least.”

The man was able to get on his bike and ride away. He eventually encountered two other bikers, who called 911. He was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where his condition was upgraded Monday from serious to satisfactory.

Authorities set five bear traps Monday at the park, which is expected to remain closed for two weeks. When caught, the bear will be killed. “When it attacks a person, we put it down,” Jackson said.

But some left coast neighbors are defending the bear:

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has set up traps for a bear that attacked a bicyclist on Sunday, and officials say the bear will likely be killed.

But people who live near Banner Forest Heritage Park say the animal did nothing wrong.

Anthony Blasioli, 51, was biking with his two dogs alongside him when he encountered the bear Sunday morning.

The bear charged at the man, cutting his arms, back and neck before he managed to get away. He’s being treated at a Tacoma hospital and was listed in satisfactory condition.

Officials think the bear may have been defending its cubs, and that is what has area residents protesting plans to kill the animal.

“It’s mean, it’s cruel, it’s bad,” said Mike Leathers. “We’re in their territory. The bear and her cubs need to be relocated.”

Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Duane Makoviney it’s very rare for a bear to attack a human, and they have no choice but to euthanize it.

“It could have been worse. We could have a fatality here and we certainly don’t want that to happen,” he said.

Carol Maddux lives just miles from the park and she says bears are seen frequently in the area.

“They’re not aggressive,” she said. “They will back away from you anyone knows that.”

3 Feedbacks on "Bear Attacks 51 Year-Old in County Park"


We live .15 mile from Banner Forest, it is at the end of our street. However we are currently moving. One of the major things I’ll miss is Banner Forest, we lived there for 3 years and went for walks with our daughter there very frequently. I have many fond memories, it is a beautiful forest. I had no idea there are bears in there! Dogs loose in our neighborhood who growl at me in my own yard were more of a concern when walking to the forest (sometimes they would jump out of bushes along the way and i had to spray in the face with pepper spray! I had resorted to carrying a .22 pistol when walking to the forest to protect from the dogs who would growl, unleashed, even with their ‘owners’ right there who wouldn’t do anything! I didn’t want to come accross one of those dogs without a gun) than the thought of a bear. I think realistic expectations is in order though, it is a huge forest. We have told our 5 year old daughter what to do if a mountain lion or bob cat is seen (make yourself large, arms up, make noise! don’t run!carry a stick so you can make yourself look taller) because we’re from CA and that is a concern there when hiking, now we will need to be sure to go over bear safety tips as well. I’ve seen many bears in CA when camping, they tore up our camp and supplies, and in fact my father shot one. He was a hunter, something I am have struggled morally with my whole life and caused many problems between us when he was alive. I am a nature lover, I know we’re in a different element when we enter a forest and we’re ‘just visitors’ and it is sad to think this bear will be killed when it probably had cubs, yet at the same time it is terrifying to think how awful that attack must have been for the victim, and how I would feel if that were my child attacked, I’d probably go out and try to shoot it myself. So lets be honest with our feelings, and see it from all views. It is also scary since our house is just down the road from the forest (3 minute walk) that bear could very well have been in our back yard! It is my own fault for being so niave to not know bears were around. It is very sad both ways, that someone was attacked when they were just riding their bike, and sad that the bear now has to be put to sleep. But I’ve said if a dog attacked my kids or even rushed at them I’d kill them (and this is a HUGE problem in the area surrounding the forest, one of the top reasons we moved, white trash hillbilly mentality people with their roaming dogs that I was sure to have to put down some day soon and then i’d be in trouble, but my kid could not even play in our back yard or our own dog play in our own yard without the fear of some roaming dog showing up and causing trouble, plus pooping in our yard, tearing things up, etc.) so if I’d put a dog down for being on my property threatening my family, I can’t blame the authorities for wanting to put the bear down for attacking in a public forest. Now if they’d only take the dogs as seriously and start doing something about them!!!!

Lazarus Long

Oh Good Grief. The words we use to waltz around things. When that bear is caught it will be “KILLED” plain and simple. It won’t “go to sleep” or be “euthanized”. A human will “kill” it. Why do we tap dance with our language.

Wild critters need to fear the creature that walks on two legs. If they lose that fear then some latte swilling bicyclists are gonna get scratched or worse. And the critters won’t care if your feelings are hurt.

Angela Swedberg

I use Banner Forest on almost daily basis, riding horses as well as biking and hiking. I also live near it, and have been going there since 1975. I also have met the victim from time to time on the trail, and I belive it is really irresponsible to criticize him without knowing the true facts. The victim is one of the best dog owners I have come across in Banner, having total voice control of his dogs. I have run into many dogs on leashes that are far more menacing. Also, Banner has very thick woods, and alot of really tight trails. I have run into bears as well as mt. lions and coyotes there. It’s really easy to do, so I wish people would quit the blame game. The real issue now is that this bear is a potential risk to area residents. I have bears crossing my property all the time, and its usually not a issue, but as more and more people move out here, they loose habitat. The bears also become less afraid of humans, which has it’s own set of issues. Killing the bear is a hard reality that is unfortunate, but has anyone thought that relocating it is begging for another attack in a new location. Has anyone thought this bear MIGHT have something wrong with it. Bears that have medical issues often resort to some really bizarre and aggressive behavior. Look up some of the recent attacks in Canada, and you will get the picture. Sometimes life in the forest isn’t always harmonious. Sad but true, animals attack. It’s easy to armchair from your desk in the city, but live in the bush, and you might have a more balanced opinion. This bear unfortunately now a danger in my backyard. Once they attack, there’s a higher chance that it will happen again. This area has exploded with new residents, who don’t always use good judgement when it comes to bears, so they get used to humans and always loose in the end. I have been around black, polar and grizzly bears all my life, so I have some idea of how they act. Sometimes, they just go bad.


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