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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. Ontario - John Dennison, 82, was Ontario's first recorded bear fatality in June 1881. Denison was a trapper, and had trapped a bear in what is now Algonquin Park. Armed with only an axe, his attempt to kill the bear ended in both his and the bears death. 
  2. Pennsylvania - John Robinson's body was found at the site of a struggle, and bear tracks in 1883.
  3. Michigan - As reported in Abiline Reflector, September 20, 1883 "The body of Frank Devereaux was recently found in the woods eight miles from Cheboygan, Mich. The surroundings showed that he was killed in a bear fight, which resulted fatally for both, as the animal's body was found near that of the dead man. The body was terribly cut up in the contest, and the ground torn for a space of twenty feet, showing that the struggle had been a fearful one".   The species of bear was not notes, but black bears are common in that area.
  4. West Virginia - Mary Porterfield, 3, and her two brothers were killed while picking flowers near their home in Job, West Virginia on May 19, 1901.
  5. West Virginia - Willie Porterfield, 5 and his sister and brother were killed while picking flowers near their home in Job, West Virginia on May 19, 1901.
  6. West Virginia - Henry Porterfield, 7, and his sister and brother were killed while picking flowers near their home in Job, West Virginia on May 19, 1901.
  7. Vermont - On Tuesday November 23, 1943 Carl Herrick, 37, went hunting and failed to return. His body was found that Friday with scratches on his face, hands and arms, his rifle leaning against tree nearby.
  8. Michigan - July 7, 1948, Carol Ann Pomranky, 3, was taken from outside her home on the Marquette National Forest (now Hiawatha National Forest). The predatory bear took her body about 100 yards. The bear was tracked and killed.  
  9. Alaska - Rudolph Gaier, 50, was found dead at his cabin along with a dead black bear in November of 1952. It is thought a bear attacked him in his cabin and the two fought, and both died at the cabin.
  10. Alberta - Seven year old Barbra Christine Coates was picking berries outside of her families home near Jasper National Park on August 12, 1958 when she spotted a bear and tried to run to her house. The bear caught her at the steps to the cottage and was dragging her away with her mother hanging onto her feet trying franticly to save her. 
  11. Alberta - On September 6, 1959 Lyndon S. Hooper, 51, was fishing alone when he disappeared. His partially consumed body was found in a stream a few days later. A bear shot not far from the body was later determined to contain human hair and clothing in it's stomach.
  12. Alaska - William Strandberg, 51, was killed by a bear near his gold mine on August 16, 1963.
  13. Quebec - Sidney Smith, a 26 year old technician on a radar line was killed by a black bear on September 17, 1964.
  14. British Columbia - Susan Duckitt was just 11 when she was on a picnic with a friend on August 8, 1967. They encountered a bear and ran. The male bear chased them catching and killing Susan.
  15. Ontario - October 1, 1968 Jack Ottertail, 53, was killed while trying to defend himself against a bear attack. His body was  found buried under leaves, moss and sticks, with the bear just yards away.
  16. Colorado - John Richardson, 31, was camping with friends near Rocky Mountain National Park on July 25, 1971 when he was attacked and killed.
  17. Washington - 4 year old Victoria Valdez was killed outside her Glenwood home. Her father shot a young male bear near the home while searching for his daughter on August 12, 1975. Her body was within 200 yards of their house.
  18. Ontario - Mark Halfkenny, 12, his brother George and friend Billy were all three killed by a predatory black bear near Radiant Lake in Algonquin Park on May 13, 1978. A male bear near the bodies was killed but could not conclusively be linked to the deaths.
  19. Ontario - Billy Rhindress, 15, his friends, brothers, George and Mark Halfkenny were all three killed by a predatory black bear near Radiant Lake in Algonquin Park on May 13, 1978.
  20. Ontario - George Halfkenny, 16, his brother Mark and friend Billy Rhindress were all three killed by a predatory black bear near Radiant Lake in Algonquin Park on May 13, 1978.
  21. British Columbia - 10 year old Allan Russell Baines was killed while fishing in Leo Creek near Granisle on July 18, 1980.
  22. Alberta - August 14, 1980 Lee Randal Morris a 44 year old geologist and Marshall were killed in separate attacks by the same bear about two hours apart. The attack took place at an oil drilling camp near Zama Lake.
  23. Alberta - August 14, 1980 Carol Marshall, 24, a laborer and Morris were killed in separate attacks by the same bear about two hours apart. The attack took place at an oil drilling camp near Zama Lake.
  24. Saskatchewan -  Clifford Starblanket, 26, was killed about May 21, 1983 and is the first known fatality from a bear in Saskatchewan.
  25. Saskatchewan -  Melvin Rudd, 56, was killed while fishing McDougall Creek near Nipawan Provincial Park on May 27, 1983. Two other fishermen killed a bear that attacked them nearby and is assumed to be the same bear that killed Rudd. That bear was not rabid, had no injuries and was in relatively good physical shape.
  26. Quebec - Daniel Anderson was 12 on July 6, 1983 when he was dragged from his tent and killed while on a canoe camping trip with 8 other youths in La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve.
  27. British Columbia - Gordon William Ray, 24 was killed by a male black bear while working on a tree planting project May 29, 1985. Ray climbed a tree in an attempt to escape, but fell and out was attacked and killed.
  28. Alberta - May 26, 1991 James Waddell, 12, was dragged from his tent at the Marten River Campground near Slave Lake and killed.
  29. Ontario - October 11, 1991 Raymond Jackubauskas, 32, was camping with his girlfriend Carol Frehe on Bates Island in Algonquin Park when they were attacked and both killed and eaten.
  30. Ontario - October 11, 1991 Carol Frehe, 48, was camping with her boyfriend Raymond Jackubauskas on Bates Island in Algonquin Park when they were attacked and both killed and eaten.
  31. Ontario - On June 14, 1992, Sebastien Lauzier a 20 year old student from Timmins, was mauled to death by a black bear near Cochrane. Lauzier was collecting soil samples for a mineral exploration company when attacked.
  32. Alaska - 33 year old Darcy Staver was killed on July 8, 1992 after a bear entered her home. Staver and her husband fled to the roof and when he went for help, the bear climbed a nearby tree attacking and killing Staver.
  33. Colorado - 24 year old logger Collin McClelland was attacked and killed in his camper in Fremont County, Colorado on August 10, 1993. Shots were fired at the bear but apparently only slightly wounded the animal. After killing McClelland the bear returned several times to feed on the body.
  34. British Columbia - 4 year old Ian Dunbar was attacked in the backyard of his home in 70 Mile House on September 16, 1994. Conservation Officers Tracked the bear and killed it.
  35. British Columbia - Sevend Satre, 53, was killed on June 14, 1996 while checking fences near Tatlayoko Lake. His partially consumed body was found with the bear still guarding it's prey the next day.
  36. British Columbia - On August 14, 1997 Patti McConnell, 37, was walking with her son, 13, and daughter, 7, on a board walk to Liard Hot Springs when a bear attacked her son. Patti tried to fight the bear off, but was killed. Ray Kitchen heard the attack and tried to help as well, but he also dies from his injuries.
  37. British Columbia - 56 year old Ray Kitchen heard the attack on Patti McConnell and tried to help her fight off the attacking bear, but he also died from his injuries.  
  38. Tennessee - On May 21, 2000, 50 year old Glenda Ann Bradley was killed and partially consumed by a female, 112 pound bear and her 40 pound yearling, in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
  39. Quebec - July 2, 2000 a bear attacked and killed Mary-Beth Miller, 24, a biathlete on a training run near Valcartier.
  40. Northwest Territories - June 3, 2001 eighteen year old Kyle Harry was attacked and killed at rural campsite east of Yellowknife.
  41. New Mexico - August 18, 2001 a bear broke into the house of 93 year old Adelia Maestras Trujillo and and killed her in her kitchen. The bear was shot 1/2 mile from her house.
  42. New York - August 19, 2002, bear grabs 5 month old Ester Schwimmer and stroller from porch of her families hime near Fallsburg resulting in death of child. 
  43. British Columbia - On September 1, 2002 Christopher Bayduza, a 31 year old father, was killed at a remote oil drilling site. 
  44. Quebec - 77 year old Maurice Malenfant was attacked on September 29, 2002, at his campsite in the Gaspé region of Northern Quebec and died from his injuries.
  45. Ontario - April 17 2003, forestry worker stalked, killed and partially consumed by large, male black bear. The worker was then dragged into the bears den. No rabies or other illness detected during necropsy. Reported by Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association.  
  46. Northwest Territories - June 14, 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.
  47. Manitoba - August 26, 2005, A 69-year-old man was fatally mauled by a black bear while out picking plums north of Winnipeg. His family was attacked while inspecting the area with RCMP, who shot and killed the bear.
  48. Ontario - Dr. Jacqueline Perry, 30, died in a predatory attack in Missinaibi Lake Provincial Park on September 6, 2005. Her husband was seriously injured trying to protect her and then her body.
  49. 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.
  50. Utah - June 17, 2007, in the Uinta National Forest, eleven year old Samuel Evan Ives was dragged from his tent while camping in American Fork Canyon with his family. 
  51. British Columbia - 31 year old Robin Kochorek (f) was attacked and killed while mountain biking near the Panorama Ski Resort on July 20, 2007. Reports of a black bear chasing mountain bikers was not posted at trail heads at time Kockorek went riding.
  52. Quebec - On May 30, 2008 Cecile Lavoie, 70, went fishing near her cabin. When she didn't return her husband went looking for and found a bear dragging her body into the woods.
  53. Colorado - 74 year old Donna Munson had been illegally feeding bears for years in her backyard. On August 6, 2009 she was attacked, killed and partially consumed by a bear in her yard.
  54. British Columbia - Bernice Adolph, 72, was killed and partially consumed in June 2011. Evidence suggested bear(s) tried to enter her house as well. 5 bears were killed in the area and 1 was confirmed to be a DNA match to the kill.
  55. Arizona - On July 25, 2011, Lana Hollingsworth, 61 was killed by a 250 lb male bear while walking her dog at a Pinetop Country Club. She died a month later from injuries sustained from attack.
  56. Alaska - Robert Weaver, 64, was attacked and killed while walking to his cabin on George Lake on June 6, 2013. A 230 lb male bear was killed and and found to have eaten remains of Weaver.
  57. Alberta - On May 7, 2014 Lorna Weafer a 36 year old female Suncor instrument technician was attacked and killed by a large male black bear while at an oil sands mine site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
  58. New Jersey - September 21, 2014, 22  year old Darsh Patel was hiking with 4 friends in the Apshawa Preserve when they realized a black bear was following them. The hikers ran in different directions, and when they regrouped Darsh was nowhere to be found. Authorities found Darsh's body with a black bear nearby.

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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