An Arizona man was mauled to death by a black bear that attacked him unprovoked while he was having his morning coffee.
According to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, Steven Jackson, 66, died during the attack.
The sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post, adding it was a remote, heavily wooded area.
From multiple witness accounts and preliminary investigation of the scene, Mr. Jackson had been sitting having coffee at a table on his property where he was building a home.
It appears that a male black bear attacked Mr. Jackson, taking him unaware, and dragged him approximately 75 feet down an embankment.”
Neighbors heard Jackson screaming and tried to help “through shouts and car horns” but the bear did not release him until a neighbor shot him with his rifle.
The bear was killed by a neighbor who was trying to save Jackson’s life.
John Trierweiler, public information officer for the Arizona Game and Fish Department said,
Unfortunately, by that time Mr. Jackson has succumbed to his horrible injuries. It sounds like this would have been a predatory attack.”
According to the North American Bear Center, fatal bear attacks in general are exceedingly rare, averaging about one per year in the US.
At first glance there did not appear to be anything on the site that would have precipitated an attack by the bear, such as food, a cooking site or access to water.”
The sheriff’s office said,
We have had no other reports that would indicate that the public is in danger. Please do not shoot any bear unless there is an immediate threat.
It is against the law to shoot any bear unless there is a threat to your safety or the safety of others.”
Police in Arizona say a 66-year-old man was killed in a rare and unprovoked bear attack. Witnesses say the man was attacked at his campsite in Prescott Friday morning and was dragged about 75 yards as the black bear started to maul him. pic.twitter.com/bWcBQUZ7da— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 16, 2023
The US National Park Service site points out each bear and each encounter is different, but there are general guidelines useful in most situations. Some people like to carry bear spray with them when venturing into bear country.
Walk with a group (we’re smellier and noisier in packs) and stay on designated trails. Trying to give a bear food or approaching cute cubs is big no-no.
- Keep your distance if you happen upon a bear
- Don’t approach it
- Give it plenty of room to walk away
- Talk calmly to yourself in low tones to identify yourself as human
- If you have a small child or dog, pick it up
- Don’t put yourself between cubs and their mother
- Avoid direct eye contact and move away slowly, sideways if possible.
- Don’t be alarmed if a bear stands on its hind legs, it’s not considered an aggressive move.
If they do move toward you…
- Make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn to scare bears away.
- Make yourself look as large as possible by waving your arms
- If you’re with other people, stay together
- Do not run
- Do not play dead (unless it’s a Grizzly)
- Stand your ground with black bears
- Look as intimidating as possible
- Throw things not at it, but near it
- Make that black bear intimidated by you (opposite with Grizzly)
- Let it know you are a big person
- Pick something up
- Yell at it
- If it attacks, fight back – aim for the face
You can usually intimidate or bluff your way out of sticky bear situations, depending on the bear species and the situation.
To find out more about how to identify different kinds of bears and more pro tips go here.
(Photos, Wikimedia Commons; via CNN)