|Hunter survives attack by shot bear|
|The Press - News|
|Written by Kelley Lannigan|
|Wednesday, 05 October 2011 09:33|
A Macclenny man nearly lost his arm in a bear attack during an early morning hunting trip in Clinch County, GA. near the town of Statenville October 1.
Mitch Canaday, Sr., 53, was flown to Shands Jacksonville where he underwent emergency surgery to save his badly mangled right arm. He also received numerous stitches to repair bite marks to his torso.
“He is blessed,” said his sister Kari Anderson. “There will be a series of surgeries but the doctors have told us that he will eventually regain full use of his arm.”
According to Ms. Anderson, emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, followed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which sent a ranger and a sergeant to investigate.No GDNR statement was available as of Tuesday night, but Rick Lavender, the department’s communications and outreach specialist, said an incident report is being written. His unofficial report of what happened matched Ms. Anderson’s account of the events.
She spoke with The Press by phone the afternoon of October 4, recounting what other hunters in Mr. Canaday’s group and family members described to her.
Mr. Canaday and an unnamed companion were alerted to the presence of a bear by hunting dogs, she said.
When they spotted the bear in a ditch, Mr. Canady’s companion shot it. The man declined shooting a second time, fearing he could injure one of the dogs. Instead, Mr. Canaday stepped into the ditch and fired, which brought down the bear.
When the hunter turned to hand off the gun, one of the dogs attacked the still conscious bear. The injured animal reared up and lunged toward Mr. Canaday, pinning him down. He instinctively threw his arms up to protect his face.
The bear tore at his right arm and bit his torso. Mr. Canaday managed to roll away, giving his companion a clear third shot, which killed the animal.
The companion called 9-1-1 immediately.
“[The bear] laid his right arm open from the elbow down to the hand,” said Ms. Anderson. “The bones were all crushed.”
She said her brother was a very experienced hunter and described the incident as an unusual, even freakish accident.
“Nothing like this has ever happened in all the years he’s been hunting,” she said.
During the conversation, Ms. Anderson stressed her brothers passion for bear hunting.
“You can bet, come next fall, he’ll be right back out there as if nothing happened,” she said.
“I want to thank all the people in the community who have made kind expressions of concern since this happened,” she said. “It means a great deal to the family.”
Another incident involving a nuisance bear occurred the morning of October 3 at the Thomas Circle residence of Jeff Combs in the Trail Ridge area east of Macclenny.
Mr. Combs’ father, Donald Combs, said the approximately 125-pound black bear was in the garage of his son’s mobile home and caused damage.
The bear has been a nuisance in the neighborhood for the past two months, he said, and several reports to the Florida Wildlife Commission seemed to be falling on deaf ears, even though his son reported seeing a tracking collar on the animal.
Mr. Combs said his son has had to run the bear off, away from the house and away from the trash can, for several nights.
Once, the animal anchored itself in a nearby tree. “[FWC] had told us to cut out the lights and bring in the garbage and it would go away,” he said. “That didn’t happen.”
About 3 am on Monday morning, the bear tore the mobile home’s back door off the hinges, entered the kitchen, ransacked the trash can and destroyed a birthday cake on the kitchen table.
All of this occurred while Mr. Combs’ son and girlfriend huddled in a nearby bedroom for protection.
“We found out from the FWC folks that it’s a chronic problem bear that’s been relocated,” said Mr. Combs when he spoke to The Press the following day. “They got the bear from Ocala and took him to the Green Cove Springs area and over four months he made his way up here.
“I told people who hunt in the area they should be careful going to their hunt stands until this problem is taken care of.”
FWC did respond on Tuesday, October 4, placing a bear trap at the residence. The culvert trap was baited with cupcakes.
“When bears have access to unnatural food sources such as pet foods, garbage, barbecue grills, birdseed or livestock feed,” said FWC public information officer Karen Parker, “they quickly learn to associate people with food.”
She said the bear has been part of an FWC research project at Camp Blanding and is outfitted with a white collar and two ear tags.
According to the tracking information at 5 am Tuesday, the bear had moved several miles south of Macclenny to the south side of Interstate 10.
“We are attempting to capture the bear,” Ms. Parker said. “Relocating this bear is not an option. Public safety is our number one concern. When we catch it, we will euthanize it. We do not want the bear entering another house.”
She recommends securely storing garbage, bird feeders and barbecue grills in a garage or sturdy shed.
“People can also help by feeding pets indoors or bringing in dishes after feeding,” Ms. Parker said.
If residents come in contact with a bear, they should remain calm and walk, not run, indoors or inside a vehicle.
“If you have children or pets, bring them inside. Encourage the bear to leave. Bang pots and pans, or blow an air horn or whistle. The more stressful the encounter with you, the less likely the bear is to come back,” she said.
If the bear is threatening the safety of humans, pets or livestock or is causing property damage, residents should report it to the FWC at 888-404-3922.
Residents can find out more about black bears online at MyFWC.com/bear.
|Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2011 07:33|