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CONTACT:
CO Brad Morse: 603-271-3127
Lt. Robert Bryant: 603-271-3127
Jane Vachon: 603- 271-3211
May 23, 2011

Woman Injured by Bear in Center Harbor

CONCORD, N.H. – A 55-year-old Center Harbor woman, Jacqueline Berghorn, was injured outside her home by a black bear about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2011. 

Berghorn told N.H. Fish and Game Conservation Officers that she heard her dog on the back deck of her home, barking and acting in an unusual manner. She went out to investigate and encountered a bear approximately 10 feet away.  The dog attacked the bear, and Berghorn turned and ran towards the home's sliding glass doors. She felt the bear's front paws on her back and shoulders and was knocked to the deck floor, then the bear turned and ran.

Berghorn received non-life-threatening injuries. She was taken to the Lakes Region General Hospital for evaluation and released later that evening. 

Incidents involving physical contact with black bears are extremely rare, according to Fish and Game Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmins. 

The incident was investigated by New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officer Brad Morse and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Bear Technician Jake Borgeson. Fish and Game was advised that neighbors, who recently moved away, had a history of feeding bears over the past five years. Biologists believe that the incident involving Berghorn, as well as other bear activity in the community, may be related to this past feeding of bears. 

The bear involved in the incident with Jacqueline Berghorn has become habituated to human food and will most likely not change its current habits of seeking food from area residents, according to Morse. The Department has also been advised of several recent incidents involving an aggressive bear in the vicinity that has killed backyard chickens and injured a dog. Therefore, Fish and Game is attempting to capture and euthanize the bear to prevent further conflicts.  

Bears have also been reported in the area visiting local birdfeeders. Fish and Game encourages homeowners to take down their birdfeeders between April 1 and December 1 because of black bears' fondness for birdseed.

“The surest way to prevent bear/human conflicts is to keep your yard free of food attractants. This helps prevent property damage by bears and keeps bears from becoming nuisance animals,” said Timmins.  "The sad truth is, a fed bear is a dead bear."

If a bear incident occurs at night, call your local police department.  

For more information on preventing conflicts with black bears, visit www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Somethings_Bruin.htm.

For information on preventing bear-related problems, call a toll-free number coordinated jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department:  1-888-749-2327 (1-888-SHY-BEAR). 

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