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Fatal Black Bear Attacks

The following information is not intended to be scary or anti-bear in any way. I hope that it will help people appreciate and respect the boundaries required by wild animals and our curiosity to observe and interact with them. The fact is attacks on humans by Black Bears is extremely rare, in fact only 52 known fatal Black Bear attacks have happened in North America in the last 100 years, but they do happen. Your best defense is a little understanding of bears and their habits and being aware of your surroundings when visiting or living in bear country. 

Black bears are wild animals that are dangerous! They can and do kill people

Black Bear
National Park Service Photo ©
  1. Manitoba - 1982,
  2. Tennessee - May 2000, Female hiker attacked, killed and partially consumed by a female, 112 pound bear and her 40 pound yearling, in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
  3. Quebec - July 2000, bear attacked and killed Mary-Beth Miller, 24, a biathlete while on training run.
  4. Northwest Territories - June 2001, Young male attacked and killed at rural campsite
  5. New Mexico - August 2001, bear breaks into house and is confronted by elderly owner who dies in ensuing attack.
  6. Fallsburg, New York - August 2002, bear grabs 5 month old infant and stroller from porch resulting in death of child. 
  7. Quebec - September 2002, A man was attacked and killed in his campsite in the Gaspé region of Northern Quebec.
  8. British Columbia - September 2002, Man attacked and killed at a remote oil rigging site in northeastern B.C.
  9. Ontario - April 17 2003, forestry worker stalked, killed and partially consumed by large, male black bear. No rabies or other illness detected during necropsy.
  10. Northwest Territories - 2005, 71-year-old Merlyn Carter was found dead behind the main cabin of his sport-fishing camp about 300 kilometres northeast of Fort Smith. Family members shot and killed the black bear responsible.
  11. Manitoba - August 26, 2005, A 69-year-old man was fatally mauled by a black bear while out picking plums north of Winnipeg
  12. Ontario - Jacqueline Perry, 30, died in a predatory attack in Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park. Here husband was seriously injured trying to protect her and then her body.
  13. Tennessee - April 13, 2006, 6 year old Elora Petrasek from Ohio was killed and her mother and two year old brother seriously injured in black bear attack in the Cherokee National Forest.

Case Victim Age/sex Bear M/F Attack Site Bear Destroyed
2 50/F F/? Backcountry yes/yes
3 24/F   Backcountry  
4 18/M   Campsite  
5 93/F M inside house Death
6 infant/F   cabin porch yes
7 M   campsite  
8 M   Remote Oil Rig  
9 M M Backcountry yes
10 71/M   Fishing Camp  
11 69/M   rural home yes
12 30/F      
13 6/F   Cherokee National Forest  

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