Cumberland Times-News


August 31, 2013

Black Bears Kill

Nine of the victims were younger than 10

What follows is a list of fatal attacks upon humans by wild black bears in North America.

The list does not include fatalities caused by bears that were captive or had been captive. Neither does it include fatal maulings by brown, grizzly or polar bears.

The ages of the victims range from 3 to 93. Nine of the victims were younger than 10. About 30 percent of the victims were females. Not counting the deaths in Alaska, 15 were in the United States.

The sources are Wikipedia and

Mike Sawyers, outdoor editor


June 1881: John Dennison, 82, became Ontario’s first recorded fatality because of a bear attack. He was inspecting his bear traps at Happy Lake Isle and after finding a bear caught in one was involved in a struggle with he and the bear both dying.

1883: John Robison, age unknown, was found dead near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where there was evidence of bear tracks and a terrible struggle.

May 19, 1901: Three children, Mary Porterfield, 3, Wilie Porterfield, 5, and Henry Porterfield, 7, were gathering flowers near their home in Job, W.Va., when they were attacked and killed. The remains of the children were found and the bear was killed.

Nov. 23, 1943: Carl Herrick, 37, was hunting near West Townshend, Vermont, where he was found dead with a blackened face and scratches. His rifle and bear tracks were nearby. The theory is that Herrick shot the bear and thought it was dead and was eventually squeezed to death after he approached the animal.

July 7, 1948: Carol Ann Pomeranky, 3, was taken by a bear outside of her home on the Marquette National Forest (now the Hiawatha National Forest) in Michigan. She was dragged 100 yards. The bear was tracked and killed.

Nov. 19, 1952: Rudolph Gaier, 50, was found dead at a remote Alaskan cabin. The conclusion is that Gaier shot the bear after it entered and, before dying, the bear fatally clawed him.

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