Washington hunter mauled by black bear

  • Updated: April 24, 2006 - 4:03 PM

FORKS, Wash. — A hunter mauled by a black bear had been chasing the animal on private timberland when the animal turned the tables on its pursuers, officials said.

Bear season doesn't open until later in the year, but the man was hunting Saturday under a special permit issued by the state Fish and Wildlife Department to Rayonier Inc., which owns the land near Olympic National Park.

It appeared the hunters had been pursuing the bear for some time, said Fish and Wildlife Officer Brian Fairbanks.

"It ran for so long, and then decided, 'We're not going to run any more,"' Fairbanks said Sunday.

At that point, the hunter and the bear were in heavy brush, the officer said. "He didn't realize the bear was there, and when he got close enough the bear jumped out and grabbed him."

It was not a surprise attack, he said.

"They knew it was there — they'd been chasing it," Fairbanks said. "The guy got bit, but he was the one who put himself in position to get bit."

A second hunter shot and killed the bear before summoning help.

The injured man underwent surgery Sunday on a broken arm, Fairbanks said.

The man, whose name was not released, also suffered a broken wrist and two bite wounds on his upper thigh.

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