A whitetail hunter in Wisconsin got more than he bargained for earlier this month when he found himself sharing his tree stand with a black bear.
The bear bit Dalton Roach in the back before climbing back down the tree, hanging around for awhile, and eventually wandering away.
Fortunately, Roach did not sustain serious injuries.
“It’s definitely not totally uncommon for a bear to go into a tree with a hunter,” the 25-year-old hunter told KARE 11. “But the fact that he actually started gnawing on me and stuff, like that was a little abnormal.”
Roach is right. While black bears rarely attack or injure humans, they will occasionally climb into a tree stand with a hunter.
Last year, #HUNT365 reported on a woman who found a bear with her in a tree stand before daylight. In that instance, the bear climbed down without touching the hunter.
Roach’s bear was a little more curious. He told KARE 11 that the bear had a paw in his lap, and he felt its teeth puncture his back.
“I kind of pulled myself out and then stood around and turned in one motion to then face the bear and just started yelling and hollering, to say, ‘I get it you’re here, but I need you to leave,'” said Roach.
That convinced the bear to climb out of the tree, but Roach told the outlet that the animal hung around below the stand for another 30-45 minutes.
Though Roach wasn’t seriously injured, he figured his hunt was over for the morning. He called a friend, who stayed on the phone with him for the quarter-mile walk back to his truck.
Asked if he thought he was ever going to die, Roach said, “Obviously, in the moment, I tried to not think of anything like that. I was honestly kind of laughing about it because it’s one of those situations that obviously doesn’t happen every day.”
The doctor told the hunter that he may not even sustain a scar from his injuries.
“I think it makes it a little less believable because I think people are under the impression if a bear bites you, you’re missing something [i.e., an appendage],” Roach continued. “So along with it being a cool story, it can be an educational tool too.”
The Wisconsin DNR reports that four people were hurt in black bear attacks in the state between 2013 and 2018. No one has ever died, according to the agency.