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article imageBear family attacks hunter in Bear Creek Twp., MI

By Laura Trowbridge     Oct 13, 2010 in Lifestyle
A bow hunter was attacked in his tree stand over the weekend by a family of black bears in Bear Creek Township, Michigan.
Chad Fortune, 21, did indeed have the good fortune to survive the bear attack after two of the four bears climbed the tree he was perched in on Saturday to bow hunt deer.
Four bears came out of the woods and caught Fortune's scent. Two of the bears came up the tree after him while Fortune yelled at them and threw his bow at them, to no avail.
One bear came at him from the left side, and Fortune elbowed him in the face. The bear bit him on the leg, but Fortune said his adrenaline was rushing so he didn't feel much. The bear ripped Fortune's sweatshirt off of him, leaving claw or teethmarks on the back of his shoulder and arm, before Fortune could knock the bear out of the tree.
The second bear was coming up the tree when Fortune kicked it in the head, knocking that bear down before it could come close enough to do more damage.
He thinks the two attacking bears ran off, but the two remaining bears stayed nearby, waiting to see if he would come down out of the tree.
Fortune's girlfriend had been trying to call him after it got late and he should have been home, but he never answered his cellphone after several attempts. When she checked with his parents, who had not seen or heard from him either, she and his father went to the area she knew he was hunting in.
Fortune was too afraid to come down from the tree stand, afraid the bears were still waiting for him. His dad went up the stand to calm his son down and get him onto the ground, and to the hospital.
It took around 40 stitches to sew up the gashes on Fortune's body.
According to Petoskey News, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has set up a culvert trap and officials will kill the mother bear if they catch her.
Bob Gwizdz, communications rep for the DNR, said: "We can't have a violent bear out there.
"The way the attack occurred, it sounded like it was a sow and her cubs ... it would be highly unusual for four adult bears to be hanging around together this time of year -- they're not pack animals. What we know biologically about bears, and what this gentleman is telling us, is not fairly consistent.
"(Fortune) thought they were huge, but it was getting dark."
Fortune told the Free Press: “They may have been related. But those were full grown bears."
Sgt. Jim Gorno, of the Gaylord DNR office, said officers believe Fortune had the scent of fried chicken or pork on him from a picnic he had attended earlier on Saturday.
Gorno went on to say in his 24 years with the DNR, it was the "weirdest case" he has seen, and that bears usually run when they detect human scent.
He thinks these bears were possibly being fed by people nearby. Four bears were recently seen by neighbors in the area.
Fortune denies attracting the bears to him with any scent of food. He said: “I had different clothes on … hunting clothes. There was no smell of picnic on them. I don’t know what happened.”
The bears have not been caught yet, but are expected to go into hibernation soon.
Mary Dettloff of the DNR said: "The situation may just resolve itself. Once (the bear) is in hibernation (from November to early spring), it's not a threat to anyone."
Gwizdz said they will still try to capture the mother bear, but have no plans to kill her cubs.
More about Bear, Bear creek, Michigan, Chad fortune, Hunter
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