From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources:
MOUNT NEBO, West Virginia – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) has investigated an attack on a man by a black bear in the Mount Nebo area of Nicholas County, West Virginia, according to Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the DNR.
On August 26, 2015, a man was knocked down and bitten several times by a female black bear after he had unexpectedly walked up on a cub in the trail. The man fought back aggressively and was able to deter the female bear, according to Carpenter. The man escaped the attack with minor injuries. A lack of physical evidence from the bear and delayed reporting of the attack precluded any attempts to capture the offending animal.
“Bear attacks on humans are rare, but this recent incident should serve to remind people how unpredictable wild animals can be,” said Carpenter. “Although this appears to be a defensive attack by a female with young cubs, the fact that the man fought back aggressively most likely prevented more severe injuries.”
Black bears are very active during late summer and fall, and feed extensively to add body weight before winter. They will take advantage of all available food sources, including trash, pet food and bird seed. Residents are reminded to secure garbage in a bear-proof container or facility until the morning of trash pickup, remove and store bird feeders until late fall, and make sure outside pets are only fed the amount of food that they will eat each day.
Nuisance black bear activity usually subsides as natural food sources become available in the fall, but residents should stay vigilant to avoid attracting bears to their property.
The attack on the unidentified man is the second verified bear attack on a West Virginia resident in recent years. In 2004, bear hunter Philip Propst of Pocahontas County was bitten by a bear his dogs had cornered during a summertime training chase. A Morgantown woman reported that she was knocked down by a bear in 2014, but a subsequent investigation found no evidence that an attack had occurred.