Arizona Bear Attacks Woman In Tent

Arizona Game and Fish Department, Bear Hunting Magazine

An Arizona woman was injured yesterday morning when a bear ripped a hole in the tent where she, her husband and their dog had been sleeping at Ponderosa Campground in Tonto National Forest, just off Highway 260 about 10 miles east of Payson.

After tearing open the tent, the bear reportedly stuck its head in and clawed at the 74-year-old woman, leaving her with bruises and a laceration on her scalp. She was treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released. The woman's husband and dog were not hurt.

A large adult bear had recently been seen hanging around the campsite dumpsters. A wildlife manager with Arizona Game and Fish Department visited Ponderosa Campground the day before looking for the bear, but it was not found. A culvert-style trap was set. The wildlife manager talked to the campground host about precautions, and all campers were informed of the bear threat.

The bear returned to the campground sometime during the night. The campground host chased the bear, which retreated. It returned a short time later and attacked the campers in their tent.

Personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services were on the scene and working with Game and Fish officers, using dogs to track the bear from the scene of the attack.

Officials evacuated campers and closed Ponderosa Campground. Lower Tonto Creek/Bear Flat/Forest Road 405A have also been closed to entry. An official closure will be put into effect by the Forest Service until the bear danger lessens.

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