Man Attacks Bear : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Not your ordinary bear attack

By Sam Venable

Knoxville News July 7, 2002

Go ahead and file this one under "Man Bites Dog." It's that weird. National Park Service biologist Kim DeLozier and ranger Kent Looney agree it's one of the most bizarre cases they've ever handled.

Seems a Florida tourist and a Great Smoky Mountains National Park bear had an encounter in Cades Cove the other day. An ugly one. In fact, it was an outright, vicious attack.

Except this time, the bear was the victim.

Michael Shaw, 38, of Grand Ridge, Fla., faces a September hearing in federal court stemming from an assault on the bruin. Shaw was charged with two offenses: disturbing wildlife and disorderly conduct by creating a hazardous condition. Conceivably, he could be fined as much as $5,000 and sentenced to six months behind bars on each count.

According to Looney's investigation, a group of visitors had stopped on the road that loops around the cove and were watching the young bear as it ambled through a field. Based on eyewitness reports, both Looney and DeLozier assume the bear was a yearling, not a cub with mama nearby. In other words, this was a bear on its own.

It apparently was hungry. Probing through the tall grass, it located a baby deer. You don't need a Ph.D. in animal science to figure out what happened next.

"The bear attempted to kill the fawn," said Looney. "Normally, this would have happened quickly, with a fast flick that snapped its neck."

In this particular case, however, the best the bear could do was shake the fawn violently. A slower death, perhaps. Certainly gruesome in human terms. But every bit a part of nature's scheme.

That didn't sit well with some of the tourists.

Several of them ran toward the two animals and began kicking and stomping the bear. When it refused to let go of its meal, one of them actually picked the bear off the ground and threw it to one side. Only then did the bear release its grip and run back into the woods.

Someone grabbed the bleeding fawn and took it to the Cades Cove ranger station. Someone else started jotting down license plate numbers. Based on that information, rangers were able to stop a car and arrest Michael Shaw.

"He seemed to be quite put out that we were charging him," said Looney. "He said he thought he was doing the right thing."

Not hardly.

"That guy was in the middle of a natural process that includes predators, even if we don't like to see it," said Looney.

For better or for worse, we don't see much of it. But as the ranger pointed out to me, wild animals kill other wild animals countless millions of times every day. Whether it's a praying mantis grabbing a fly, a trout eating a worm, a scarlet tanager plucking a caterpillar off the leaves of a tree or a bear taking down a deer, this is a natural order that the National Park Service is sworn to uphold and protect.

"That bear was doing what it was supposed to be doing," he said. "If the food chain's not in working order, there's no national park.

"In addition to disturbing wildlife, he put himself and others in the crowd in a very dangerous situation. I'm surprised the bear didn't fight back. If it had chosen to, the guy surely would have been scratched and bitten. We might have had to fly him out to a hospital. If that had been a cub and the mother was close by, we would very likely have had a fatality on our hands. She would have shredded him."

Oddly enough, the suspect also was in danger from bystanders.

"Many of the people who gave me statements about the incident were incensed about what he had done," Looney said. "If they had gotten hold of him, we might have had to save him."

The deer was mortally wounded. Biologist DeLozier said blood was flowing from its nose. It could not stand, probably due to internal injuries. DeLozier contacted University of Tennessee veterinary authorities. Based on their advice, the deer was euthanized and left in the area where it had been caught by the bear.

"You'd hope the bear would come back and eat it, but that's hard to say," DeLozier noted. "It probably was very scared. It might have even suffered internal injuries of its own from all the kicking and stomping."

-- (Petulant Petula @ PETA.perpetully pissed), July 08, 2002


And the lion will lie down with the lamb. And the lion will eat the lamb.

-- (Fang and talon @ natural.born killers), July 08, 2002.

It's like they say. Some days you get the bear. Some days the bear gets you.

-- Little Nipper (, July 08, 2002.

d boone kilt a bar

-- (d boone @ dark and bloody ground.Boonesboro), July 08, 2002.

I think it would be very hard for me to stand there and do nothing for the fawn, even though....I understand that is nature. But I certainly wouldn't harm the bear. {sigh}

-- (nature@hard. to take), July 08, 2002.

Children abuse fawns. It's "a cry for help".

Human beings are born evil

-- (Petulant Petula @ perPETuity), July 10, 2002.

The atrocities continue. Vegan pedophile not receiving adequate diet in jail; wasting away.

-- (Petulant Petula @ petting.zoo), July 10, 2002.

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