Black Bear Attacks Woman in Vermont Town as Officials Warn of Increased Danger

by Craig Garrett
Roaring black bear - stock photo

On Wednesday evening, a woman was attacked by a black bear in Vermont as the number of dangerous encounters with bears continues to increase. The attack occurred in Stratton, a town located in southern Vermont. The incident is currently being investigated by game wardens, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Thursday. According to Fox News, the victim was briefly hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries before being discharged.

The wardens offered no immediate indication of the type of bear or what circumstances may have led to the attack. A department spokesperson said that they would release more information to the public as it becomes available. This attack comes after Vermont wildlife officials announced that the state was seeing a record number of encounters between humans and bears.

Jaclyn Comeau is a Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department bear biologist. She weighed in on the issue back in July. “The number one cause of this dangerous, escalating behavior is Vermonters failing to secure food sources that attract bears,” Comeau explained. “This failure is putting people and bears in danger.”

A Vermont woman was attacked by a black bear in August while walking her dogs near her home in Orange County’s Strafford town. The victim’s dog scared the bear away and she suffered no serious injuries. Comeau stated that bear attacks are very unusual in Vermont, with the department having records of only three previous instances.

How to avoid black bear encounters, according to experts

You’re most likely to come across a bear in the spring and summer, at dawn or dusk. To stop any run-ins with bears, professionals suggest getting rid of anything that might draw them to your home or community. The two biggest culprits are usually garbage and bird feeders since they offer easy access to food for bears.

As curious animals, bears will often approach humans. If this happens to you, stand up and wave your arms above your head while speaking in a low voice so the bear knows you are not a threat. Back away slowly, making sure to avoid direct eye contact. Do not run from the bear as this may cause it to become aggressive. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends carrying bear spray and making noise when hiking with pets to avoid surprising bears that might be nearby.

The National Park Service advises not to drop your pack and not to give the black bear any food. They also stress not to make direct eye contact. Another thing they suggest is to travel in groups. Finally, the NPS urges folks not to climb trees to escape wild animals. Black bears in particular are terrific climbers.

The NPS stresses that bear attacks are extremely rare. Most bears mind their own business if not antagonized by humans. However, they do have some tips in the event of an attack. Interestingly, they strongly urge people to not play dead with black bears. If you aren’t able to flee, try to defend yourself with whatever is accessible. The NPS says to focus your blows on the bear’s face and muzzle.