New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866
Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AUGUST 30, 2019:
Hunter attacked by bear near Cliff
Cliff – New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers have completed the investigation of a black bear attack that occurred near Cliff in southwestern New Mexico on Thursday, Aug. 29.
The 63 year old licensed guide, was injured when approaching a bear that had been shot by a member of the hunting party. The individual returned to his truck unassisted and drove himself to Gila Regional Medical Center where he was treated for multiple bite wounds to both arms and legs, administered antibiotics and released.
“We are thankful the individual was not hurt worse,” said Department Director Mike Sloane. “We caution all hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to always be careful around bears, especially if you are in the vicinity of an injured animal.”
Here are some ways to protect yourself if you encounter a bear:
- Stop, and back away slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct eye contact, as the bear may consider that a threat. Do not run. Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
- If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
If you live or camp in bear country:
- Keep garbage in airtight containers inside your garage or storage area. Place garbage outside in the morning just before pickup, not the night before. Occasionally clean cans with ammonia or bleach.
- Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as sweet treats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.
- Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
- Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
- Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
- Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
- Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.
- Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
- Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site.