CRIME

Bear attacks jogger in Idaho, jogger kicks it and it flees

A black bear attacked a man jogging in the Panhandle National Forests in northern Idaho in the second bear attack at the popular recreation area in a month but the bear ran away after the jogger kicked at it, officials said Wednesday.

The man suffered lower leg lacerations in the Monday afternoon attack but the injuries were not serious enough for him to need treatment at a hospital, said Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Phil Cooper.

The unidentified man told officials he noticed the bear following him and turned to confront it and fell to the ground when the bear attacked.

"When the bear actually swiped at him, he kicked at it, and that's when it ran off," he said. "With a black bear, you definitely want to fight."

Trackers with dogs failed to locate the bear. The U.S. Forest Service closed the area overnight but reopened it after the search for the bear was called off. The jogger did not have bear repellant spray with him.

"We recommend people carry bear spray, make noise and have dogs on leashes," said Forest Service spokeswoman Shoshana Cooper, who is not related to Phil Cooper.

A black bear with a cub on July 4 attacked a woman hiking with dogs about 6 miles (10 kilometers) south of Monday's attack. She was flown to a hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Trackers gave up following that bear after it crossed a river.

Phil Cooper said both bear attacks are likely the result of the bears being startled. The area the area is estimated to have up to four black bears per square mile (2.6 square kilometers) attracted to this year's bumper crop of huckleberries. Bears will likely start moving to higher elevations as huckleberries ripen in the surrounding mountains, he said.

The Boise National Forest on Tuesday closed a campground because of bear and human encounters in the last several weeks.

Authorities in central Idaho captured and killed a black bear late last month after a string of encounters with people.

In one of them, a camper woke up to find her foot in a bear's mouth. Officials believe the same bear also rubbed up against a different woman while she read a book near a stream.