Black Bear Bites Minor League Baseball Player Bowhunting in Wisconsin

by Matthew Memrick

A Wisconsin bowhunter/baseball player got bit on the back by a black bear. Fortunately, the hunter lived to tell his tale.

Dalton Roach, 25, was hunted on some family land in the Trempealeau County woods for deer when he got a little too close to a black bear this past Saturday night. Fortunately, the 250-to-300-pound bear only took a small piece out of Roach.

After some urging from his wife, Roach got the bite examined at the hospital. Hospital staff gave him antibiotics and a tetanus shot. Oh, and the first of many injections as part of a rabies vaccine regimen. 

Roach finished a 7-10 record with a 5.65 ERA last season for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Double-A Springfield (Mo.), according to  

Bear Finds Roach

Roach said he thought he was in a tree stand, safely 20 feet in the air. The man took a cellphone video to document his first wild bear meeting.

“He was just kind of moseying around. He didn’t look like he was on any kind of a mission or anything,” Roach told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram on Monday.  

But then, the bear took a left turn and came right under Roach’s tree. Roach said he put the phone away and started to wonder what he’d do if the bear climbed up.

Soon enough, he heard scratching and saw the bear climbing up. Roach, who was on a 4-square foot platform, said the bear got so close he could feel it breathing on him.

The bowhunter said the bear put a paw on his lap. Dalton was frozen still. But something worse started to happen. Roach’s camouflage gear started getting tight, and he felt the bear bite him on the back.

Fending Off The Bear

Roach tried a spin move with his elbows to clear some space. He remembered black bears aren’t usually aggressive with humans. 

Loud hollering by Roach startled the bear, and he backed down. 

With his safety harness hooked into the tree, Roach was not too worried about falling while flailing at the bear.

Roach called a buddy, told him what happened, and asked him to drive his truck toward him if he started yelling again. The curious bear started moving away from the tree before stopping briefly. He then moved on, but it still was unsettling for Roach. Roach prepared his bow in case of another attack.

But the threat soon left, and Roach hurried to his truck less than 2,000 feet away. With his heart still pumping hard, he drove home to his family. 

Getting Home

After getting home to his wife and 15-month-old son, Sarah Roach sent her husband off to the Mayo Clinic Health System’s emergency room. There, he got the bite wound cleaned and started his rabies shots.

Roach said he was “pretty fortunate that it’s not some big nasty bite that took off half my back.”

The tender bite is about midway down the right side of his back. Click here to see it.

Dalton said he might reconsider bringing a gun or bear spray on his next bow hunt next time.