A Porter woman is shaken up but recovering after she says she punched a bear in the face and was bitten.
Maine is home to one of the largest black bear populations in the eastern U.S., though attacks are extremely rare.
Lynn Kelly was out in her garden on Friday morning when her dog started barking and ran into the woods. She heard him yelp and then he came running out with a bear right behind him.
State officials say the woman stood up as tall as she could and punched the bear in the nose. It bit her right hand, puncturing her wrist.
Her dog, Scooby, wasn’t harmed.
Kelly says she’s still scared and having a difficult time sleeping. She says she is nervous about being outside. She has a brace on her wrist from the bite.
Rachelle Pinault says she was out with her dogs the next day when she had her own close encounter.
“We were walking right past Libby Road and a black bear cub came running across the street in front of us,” Pinault said.
She knew about the attack and was worried the cub’s mother would be close behind.
“We kind of backed up and then just ran to a neighbor’s house,” Pinault said.
That’s what experts recommend: get to safety.
If you can’t, “the best thing to do is what she did and that is hold your ground, stand large and make a lot of noise,” said Mark Latti, with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Experts say that should’ve worked for Kelly, but since the animal seemed to be accustomed to people and attacked, state officials put out traps.
“We were able to match the bear that we captured with DNA results to the wound on her forearm,” Latti said.
The bear was euthanized and is getting tested for rabies.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says the bear was about 140 pounds and around 2 years old.
“It’s scary but look where we live. You’ve got to expect stuff like this. I mean, we live out in the wilderness,” said Christine Sanborn, who lives next door. “The game wardens came over and let us know to be careful about feeding the bird feeders.”
State wildlife officials also recommend securing your garbage or grills and removing outdoor pet food so bears aren’t attracted to your yard.