Bears Are Acting Like A-Holes in the Tonto National Forest

There have been only 10 documented bear attacks in Arizona since 1990.

Three of those have come in the last month.

A Tempe man hanging out at the Ponderosa Campground in the Tonto National Forest was the third person attacked by a bear this month, after the bear went into his tent around 5 a.m. yesterday, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The 30-year-old man had cuts and bites on his head, an arm, and possibly on his legs, and was brought to a Phoenix hospital by helicopter, officials say.

His fiancée and 1-year-old youngster were also in the tent, but managed to avoid being harmed by the bear.

Another camper shot at the bear multiple times, but officials don't know how many bullets hit the bear, as it got away.

The Forest Service evacuated the campground yesterday in an effort to find the bear, which will be killed if it's found.

The two other bear attacks in the last month were either in or near that same campground.

On June 21, a bear wandered into an unfinished cabin about a mile away from the campground and bit a guy who was sleeping.

The man ended up with non-life-threatening injuries, and officials captured a bear -- it's not yet clear whether it's the bear -- shortly after that.

The first was on May 31, when a woman was clawed at the Ponderosa Campground. Her injuries were also non-life-threatening, and that bear may or may not have been found.

Two black bears were killed by wildlife officers last night, so they're trying to find out if those were the attackers through DNA testing.

Ponderosa Campground and a couple nearby campgrounds are being temporarily shut down by the Forest Service as a safety precaution.

Game and Fish Department officials say "drought and scarce wildlife food resources" are likely to blame for bears heading to the edges of the forest to snack on people.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley