2021 31 July, Record for Annual Fatal Bear Attacks already Tied

New Jersey Black Bear Black-Bear iStock-648818154

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- With the 31 July fatal attack by a black bear near Swan Hills in Alberta, Canada, 2021 has tied the record for the number of fatal bear attacks in one year. From ctvnews.ca:

EDMONTON — Mounties say a female tree planter was mauled to death by a bear in northern Alberta. 

RCMP told CTV News they received a call just after 3 p.m. on July 31 regarding an attack in a rural area northwest of Swan Hills.

The 26-year-old woman was planting trees in the remote spot when she was attacked by what witnesses described to police as a black bear.

The attack appears to have been a predatory attack. Predatory attacks are the most easily defeated with handguns as there is often plenty of time to deploy a handgun at close range.

On 6 July,  Leah Davis Lokan was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear in an unprovoked attack in her tent, in the town of Ovando, Montana. From spokesman.com:

The grizzly was killed near a chicken coop about 2 miles from the campsite where Leah Davis Lokan, 65, was attacked in her tent at a popular long-distance bicycle campsite in the small ranching community 50 miles west of Missoula along Highway 200. Lokan was from Chico, California, but used to work as a nurse in Sandpoint.

On 25 May 2021, an unnamed woman was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear on her property near Water Valley, Alberta. From 660citynews.com:

WATER VALLEY, Alta. – One person is dead after what’s believed to be a bear attack northwest of Calgary.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife says in a Facebook post Mounties were called about the attack on private land near Water Valley, just off Highway 22, around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

Officials say the person had gone for a walk on their property and was found dead on one of the trails.

Traps have been set up in the area and a grizzly was seen with her cub in the vicinity.

The bear was exhibiting aggressive behaviour.

On 4 May, 2021, a grizzly bear killed  David Lertzman in an unprovoked attack near Waiparous, Alberta.  From mountgainviewtoday.com:

CANMORE – The wife of a 59-year-old former Canmore man killed in a bear attack in the Waiparous area last week says the bear attacked him from behind, sending him over a steep embankment to his death.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials suspect the bear involved was a mature female grizzly, but so far the bruin has evaded capture attempts.

On  30 April, 2021, Laney Malavolta was attacked and partly eaten by a black bear near Durango, Colorado. The attack was unprovoked.  From denvercbslocal.com:

DURANGO, Colo. (CBS4)– The woman killed in a bear attack near Durango last week has been identified as Laney Malavolta. An autopsy for Malavolta, 39, from the La Plata County Coroner revealed that the cause of death is “perforating injury to neck.”

On 17 April, 2021, Carl Mock, a fishing guide, was killed in an unprovoked attack just outside of Yellowstone Park, in Gallatin County, Montana. Mock used bear spray, but it was ineffective. From a former article in AmmoLand:

On the afternoon of 15 April 2021, Carl Mock was attacked by a grizzly bear near Baker’s Hole Campground in Gallatin County, Montana. The campground is a few miles from the town of West Yellowstone, near an entrance to Yellowstone Park. Mock was able to dial 911. Several agencies responded to the call at about 3:42 p.m. The first responders were able to find Mock after about 50 minutes of searching.

There are five months left in 2021. Many fatal bear attacks occur in the fall, as the bears are desperate to layer on fat for hibernation.

The last year there were six fatal bear attacks in North America was 2005. 2021 will very likely break that record.

Of 66 fatal bear attacks in North America since 2000, 32, nearly half, occurred in August through the end of the year. The latest was a very rare attack on 26 November in the Yukon.

It is likely there will be one or more additional fatal bear attacks in North America this year.

Of the 66 fatal attacks, 31 were attacks by black bears, 2 were attacks by polar bears, and 33 were attacks by grizzly bears.

There are several people admitted to the hospital after a bear attack for each bear that caused a human fatality. There are probably several times that number who are not admitted, who fought off the bear or killed it without serious injury.

It is likely there are several dozen bear attacks for every fatality inflicted by bears.

Handguns remain the most effective means of stopping bear attacks. This is because handguns are more likely to be carried on the person and accessible in more situations than long guns. Accessibility problems exist for all weapons used to stop bear attacks, whether bear spray, handguns, long guns, or large knives.

When handguns are used, they are effective about 97% of the time.

Bruce Buckshot Hemming anticipated the increasing attacks in his book “Four Seconds to Impact”.  A review by this correspondent can be found at the link.

As bear populations continue to increase exponentially, they compete with humans for territory and food. Bear-human conflicts become more likely. Most of the time, humans prevail. But as conflicts increase, the number of human fatalities mount as well.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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