Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Sig 9mm and Knife used to Stop Bear Attack on Couple in Rural WI Home

Bear which attacked Taylor County Wisconsin Couple in their home (Sheriff's Office picture)

A little before 11 p.m. on Friday, May 20, a wife and mother looked outside her rural home on Castle rd. near Medford, Wisconsin, in Taylor County. A bear was eating the bird feed from their bird feeder. She partly opened a window and yelled at the bear to go away. The bear disputed her position as owner.  From

According to the Taylor County Sheriff's Office, authorities received a report of a bear attack at a home on Castle Road in the Township of Medford Friday around 11 p.m.

In a press release, authorities report a husband and wife noticed the bear eating from their bird feeder, opened the window and yelled at the bear to scare it off. The bear then turned and charged at the home, breaking through the window and began attacking the couple, while their kids were asleep in their bedrooms.

Castle road near Medford, Wisconsin is a mixed landscape of farm fields and pastures with about half forest and a smattering of small lakes and ponds. It is typical of north-central Wisconsin.


From Google maps

This correspondent was able to talk with Larry Woebbeking, Sheriff of Taylor County.  While Sheriff Woebbeking was not at the scene of the attack, he had talked to an investigating officer who was. Larry had interesting information to add. He was sure of his facts.

The bottom of the window was about three to four feet above the ground. The bear had to jump up to get through the window. The window appears to be a typical northern Wisconsin type which slides vertically up and down, with an insect screen on the outside. The screen is gone on the picture from the sheriffs office, so the bear probably clawed the screen out as it came inside.

After the wife yelled at the bear, the bear forced its way through the window and attacked the wife. The husband came to the aid of his wife, interjecting his body between them. The bear attacked him. He suffered severe bites to the neck and may have had an arm broken.

The wife, freed from the bear attack, accessed a knife and attacked the bear which was mauling her husband. The bear turned its attention back to the wife, which allowed the husband to momentarily escape. He was able to access a 9mm Sig handgun. He quickly returned and killed the bear.

Through the attack, which probably lasted 30 seconds, the couple's children were sleeping in their bedrooms.

It is believed a cub ran into the forest when the sow unprovokedly attacked the wife and mother in her own home.

Contrary to common mythology, black bears almost never attack people because of the presence of a cub or cubs. Famed bear researcher, Steven Herrero reported in "Bear Attacks their Causes and Avoidance", p. 96:

“Researchers studying black bears confirm that black bear females are seldom aggressive, even when harassed.  Al Erickson, who made the pioneer study of black bears in North America, captured 96 bears 109 times in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  He stated, contrary to popular belief at the time:

"Most female bears did not display strong maternal protective instinct and quickly abandoned cubs when danger was imminent. In only three of ten cases was the  female  detected in the vicinity of  where cubs of the year had been captured. Two of those mothers attempted to drive off the handling crew by rushing forward, snorting, and rapidly chomping their teeth.  At no time did they approach closer than ten feet.  A particularly aggressive charge could be terminated by making a great deal of noise, particularly loud shouting, which seemed to unnerve the animal.”

Herrero reinforced that data with this statement, on the same page:

“El Harger, a Michigan wildlife biologist who studied black bears after Erickson, reported that in trapping and handling more than three hundred bears, only four times did females run them off while they were removing cubs from live traps.”

The presence of cubs should never be considered an appropriate excuse for black bear sows to attack people. This mythology is often offered by bear apologists in an attempt to justify bear attacks on innocent people.

While a knife was used to good effect in this defense against a bear, the 9mm Sig pistol was used to decisively end the attack.

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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