Bear encounter in North Carolina woman’s yard sends her to the hospital, officials say

A homeowner received hospital treatment after a run-in with a bear in her North Carolina yard, officials said.

The woman was with her dogs when the bear “made contact with” her on Tuesday morning, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission told McClatchy News. It happened in Henderson County, south of the mountain tourist town of Asheville.

“She consequently sought treatment at the hospital and was released that same morning,” officials said in an emailed statement. “No serious injuries were reported.”

The wildlife commission said it opened an investigation into the encounter and found the woman’s dogs hadn’t been on leashes. Officials speculated the mother bear may have thought the dogs would threaten her cub and was acting defensively.

Black bears, the only species in North Carolina, typically avoid humans but become active in late spring as they look for food and mates. Those searches can bring them closer to residential areas, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To reduce your chances of a bear encounter, experts recommend keeping your pets on a leash, bringing their food inside and not allowing them to run after or bark at the wild animals. Other tips include securing your garbage cans and removing bird feeders from your yard, McClatchy News reported.

If you spot a bear, wildlife experts recommend you avoid contact and slowly leave the area while making noise.

After the Henderson County encounter, the wildlife commission said the homeowner was cooperative and officials shared information about BearWise Basics, which are tips for staying safe while living among bears.

“The agency deployed remote cameras to monitor the bears in the area and canvassed the neighborhood to alert residents of bear activity and encouraged them to follow the BearWise Basics, which they were all receptive and happy to do,” officials said.

Bears are found in the eastern and western parts of North Carolina. The animals prefer to live in forests and swamps, according to the wildlife commission.

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