Bear Safety Education

February 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm 3 comments

Recently the park obtained a large, male, black bear from the Department of Environmental Conservation.  The bear was killed out of season by a deer hunter, who claimed it attacked him.  It was donated to the park for educational purposes.  A taxidermist mounted the head and front paws, and prepared the skull.  These are materials the park naturalists will use for the Bear Safety program.  Bear Safety was added to the list of program offerings in an effort to educate campers to the dangers of feeding and getting close to bears.  Bears in the park are used to people, and they seem tame.  Even so, they are still potentially dangerous wild animals.

The taxidermist discovered an interesting thing when he prepared the skull.  The bear had a bad canine tooth, or fang.   The tooth had been broken off, and was riddled with decay.  The bear, apparently an old one, had also lost one of his cheek teeth. The bad tooth, probably infected, caused the upper jawbone to deteriorate.  Bears are among the few wild animals that are subject to tooth decay.


BlackBearSkull 01

The right side of the skull of a big male black bear. The canine teeth (fangs) are normal.


BlackBearSkull 04

A missing molar. The eroded jawbone makes us think this tooth was infected.


BlackBearSkull 03

Left side of skull showing broken/decayed canine tooth.


BlackBearSkull 06

Close-up of decayed canine.


Entry filed under: Allegany State Park, Educational, Mammals, Nature.

The Allegany State Park Historical Society Lost in Time

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. trey  |  January 13, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Hi i was just wondering … do really think that that bear attacked the hunter? I think he shot it so that he was able to touch and caress the bears fur. He probably wanted to get inside the bear and pretend he was the bear to scare away campers so he could steal there chips and cookies
    any ways just wanted someone to talk to so it would be great if you could email me back so that we could talk about it.

    • 2. chuck  |  June 8, 2010 at 2:11 am

      wtf? are you retarded

  • 3. chu shilling  |  August 18, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Did you notice the bear had a bad tooth? Sounds like a bear in pain, probably not eating well. Animals in this condition will attack people. Bears in state park have associated people with easy food due to ignorance of the people. It just seems too cute when a bear comes to eat out of your kids’ hand! Yikes!!!

    My guess is hunter may have been charged by a bear who needed food. That time of year it is crucial for the bear to bulk up for winter.

    There are documented cases of lions, bears, wolves, tigers,mountain lions acting aggressively toward humans only to find their canines were infected, broken, missing, etc.

    Some hunters are unfortunetely less than ethical, they are not a true hunter. A true hunter cares a great deal about conservation. It’s the few who do not care that make it easy to say this hunter just shot a bear to ‘feel it’s fur.’

    I will say I believe the hunter in this case. Looks like DEC believed hunter also or else a ticket would have been issued. Also, my guess is hunter who is doing something illegal will hide from DEC. Sounds like this guy probably turned in the bear.

    If I had been attacked by a black bear, I would contact DEC to see what went wrong with the bear! A black bear attack is very rare! Usually only if they are hungry, injured or defending young. Could it be that this hunter felt the same way I would have? I guess assumptions could be made on either side.


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