A courageous Maine woman found herself in a fierce encounter with a black bear when she defended her dog by punching the bear in the face. Lynn Kelly, a 64-year-old resident of Porter, Maine, was working in her backyard near the New Hampshire border when her dog ventured into the woods, triggering a chase. As her dog returned, pursued by the bear, Kelly rushed to the scene, calling her dog back. The intense face-off between Kelly and the bear left both parties startled. Kelly recounted the moment, saying, "The bear looked at me, and I looked at the bear. I think we both scared each other."
In a bold move, Kelly confronted the bear head-on as it stood up. She matched its height, standing as tall as she could, and delivered a powerful punch to its nose. However, the bear retaliated by biting Kelly's right hand and leaving puncture wounds on her wrist before retreating back into the woods. Kelly promptly called 911 and received medical treatment for her injuries, which thankfully were not life-threatening. Remarkably, her dog emerged from the incident unharmed.
Authorities have set up live traps in an attempt to capture the bear responsible for the attack, emphasizing that it was a provoked incident. Previous sightings of the bear consuming birdseed in neighboring yards have been reported. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife advises Maine residents to maintain a safe distance from bears and avoid cornering or agitating them. Dog owners are urged to use non-retractable leashes and avoid coming between their dogs and bears.
Maine is home to an estimated population of 24,000 to 36,000 black bears. As the spring and summer seasons arrive, bear-related incidents tend to increase, often involving bears targeting bird feeders or rummaging through garbage. The department emphasizes that most bear conflicts can be prevented by removing potential food attractants from residential areas.
The encounter between Lynn Kelly and the bear serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and caution when encountering wildlife. While bears are a part of Maine's natural environment, it is crucial to respect their space and avoid situations that may escalate into conflicts.