Despite Priest Lake attack, bear encounters are rare

NORTH IDAHO — Wildlife agency officials in the area classify bear attacks as when a person physically encounters a bear in the wild.  They said these encounters are few and far between.

A North Idaho woman was attacked by a bear while on a walk in Priest Lake on Monday.  Officials said these attacks are rare.

North Idaho wildlife officials said before this week's attack they did not have any reports of bear encounters in recent years, with one exception: When a grizzly bear killed a hunter near the border of Idaho and Montana back in 2011.

 

 

In the entire state of Washington there have been 17 reported bear attacks in more than a century. 

Since 1900 wildlife officials said there have been just three attacks where a person had unknowingly surprised the bear spawning an attack.

Officials said seven of the reported attacks were from people walking with their dogs.  The dog became aware of the bear, chased it and attracted the bear back to the person.

 

 

Officials said six of the reported attacks involved hunters who had shot a bear, approached it and were attacked.

Wildlife officials recalled an attack from 2010 when a bear mauled Bellevue Councilman John Chelminiak.  The councilman was reportedly walking his dog near his Lake Wanachee vacation home when he was attacked. 

These types of dangerous encounters don't happen often, but wildlife officials are always reminding people to be vigilant in bear country.  They said people should stay in groups, keep dogs on leashes and bring a whistle or make loud noises when in bear country.

For this story, we reached out to wildlife officials in Montana but they have not gotten back us.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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