Black Bear Blamed for Attacking Camper Caught, Killed

Black Bear Blamed for Attacking Camper Caught, Killed

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Government trappers captured and killed a black bear believed responsible for attacking a camper late Wednesday in remote Desolation Canyon on the Green River.

The 3-year-old sow was caught overnight Thursday in a snare set with watermelon and bacon on a beach camp used by a rafting party, said Michael Bodenchuk, Utah director of the U.S. Agriculture Department's wildlife services program.

Bodenchuk said the trappers knew it was the right bear because it matched the description given by two rafting parties whose camps were raided at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday by a medium-sized cinnamon colored bear that ripped some tents and made off with bags of food.

The bear was found in a snare Friday morning and shot in the head, which Bodenchuk said is a humane way of killing an animal.

The rafting parties, using separate camps, originally reported that two bears were involved in the raids, but were counting one bear twice, he said.

"Our guys determined there was just one bear involved. We feel we got the only bear involved in these attacks," he said.

The bear left one rafter with a puncture wound to the thigh and scratches on the abdomen, but the injuries were considered minor and the man continued floating with his group to a takeout 65 miles downstream near Green River, Utah, where they were expected to arrive Friday.

The victim's identity hasn't been released.

Black bears are common on both sides of the Green River in Desolation Canyon. The attack was similar to one that occurred last July along the same stretch of river, but Bodenchuk said that was a different bear and was never captured.

In that case, a bear grabbed Nick Greeve, 18, of West Linn, Ore., by the head and neck in his sleeping bag. Greeve was treated at a hospital for puncture wounds and lacerations. Other campers in the rafting party of 20 chased the bear away.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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