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Shin Pond man survives attack by charging bear

Posted Sept. 13, 2010, at 5:18 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:50 a.m.

TOWNSHIP 5 RANGE 7 — The first day of bear-hunting season with dogs got off to a scary start when a charging bear bit a 37-year-old Shin Pond man as he hunted with three friends and their dogs near Sherman Lumber Road on Monday, officials said.

Ryan Shepard was still at Millinocket Regional Hospital at 4 p.m. after being bitten in the arm and leg by the bear, a hospital spokeswoman said. His injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

“Last I heard, he was doing well,” Maine Game Warden Kevin Pelkey said Monday. “I don’t know for sure, but I think he will probably be in the hospital overnight.”

Before he was bitten, Shepard fired his weapon at the bear, mortally wounding it, after it had charged past the dogs, which were holding the bear at bay on the ground, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte said.

The bear weighed at least 300 pounds.

The incident began about 8 a.m. on a side road off what is known locally as Sherman Lumber Road, between Garden Pond and the Seboeis River, when the four men and their dogs encountered the bear, Turcotte and Pelkey said.

The primary investigator of the incident, Pelkey said he couldn’t really determine whether Shepard had done anything that might have spurred the attack. Shepard is an experienced hunter, Pelkey said.

“While this is a rare occurrence, hunters are reminded that wild animals are always unpredictable,” Pelkey said in a statement.

Shepard did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.

The season for hunting with dogs runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 29, according to maine.gov.

No statistics on the number of people wounded by bears while hunting them were immediately available.

Watch bangordailynews.com for more updates throughout the evening.

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