NH: Woman injured by bear in Center Harbor

CONCORD, N.H. — A 55-year-old Center Harbor woman, Jacqueline
Berghorn, was injured outside her home by a black bear about 9:30
p.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

Berghorn told N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers that she
heard her dog on the back deck of her home, barking and acting in
an unusual manner. She went out to investigate and encountered a
bear approximately 10 feet away. The dog attacked the bear, and
Berghorn turned and ran towards the home’s sliding glass doors. She
felt the bear’s front paws on her back and shoulders and was
knocked to the deck floor, then the bear turned and ran.

Berghorn received non-life-threatening injuries. She was taken
to the Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation and released
later that evening.

Incidents involving physical contact with black bears are
extremely rare, according to Fish and Game Bear Project Leader
Andrew Timmins.

The incident was investigated by New Hampshire Fish and Game
Department Conservation Officer Brad Morse and U.S. Department of
Agriculture Wildlife Services Bear Technician Jake Borgeson. Fish
and Game was advised that neighbors, who recently moved away, had a
history of feeding bears over the past five years. Biologists
believe that the incident involving Berghorn, as well as other bear
activity in the community, may be related to this past feeding of
bears.

The bear involved in the incident with Jacqueline Berghorn has
become habituated to human food and will most likely not change its
current habits of seeking food from area residents, according to
Morse. The Department has also been advised of several recent
incidents involving an aggressive bear in the vicinity that has
killed backyard chickens and injured a dog. Therefore, Fish and
Game is attempting to capture and euthanize the bear to prevent
further conflicts.

Bears have also been reported in the area visiting local
birdfeeders. Fish and Game encourages homeowners to take down their
birdfeeders between April 1 and December 1 because of black bears’
fondness for birdseed.

“The surest way to prevent bear/human conflicts is to keep your
yard free of food attractants. This helps prevent property damage
by bears and keeps bears from becoming nuisance animals,” said
Timmins. “The sad truth is, a fed bear is a dead bear.”

If a bear incident occurs at night, call your local police
department.

For more information on preventing conflicts with black bears,
visit http://www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Somethings_Bruin.htm.

For information on preventing bear-related problems, call a
toll-free number coordinated jointly by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the New Hampshire Fish and Game
Department: 1-888-749-2327 (1-888-SHY-BEAR).

 

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