But as hunters push into the woods more and more, the chances for animal encounters constantly increases.
One Maine hunter just recently learned this the hard way.
Ryan Shepard, an experienced black bear hunting guide, was out in the woods with some friends and their dogs when a 365-pound black bear they were hot on the trail of decided it had enough.
The bear doubled back and charged the group. Shepard didn’t hesitate, getting off two shots from his 30-06 rifle before the bear tore into him, biting him in the leg and arm.
“It was all kind of a blur at that point,” Shepard told the Bangor Daily News. “It felt like 10 minutes, but I guess it was only a few minutes.”
The hunter, obviously, survived the attack and was treated at a local hospital. The bear, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky and died from the gun shots.
While black bears are not known for attacking hunters even when they’re provoked (only three people have been injured by bears in Maine over the past three decades), it is still a very real possibility when the wrong animal turns to desperation.
Whether you’re out hunting bear, birds or deer, be cautious. If you’re headed out to known bear areas, bring bear spray and be aware while dressing your game. And, as always, avoid any interactions with female bears and their cubs.