Skip to comments.'Bear attack' killed local man
Posted on 11/29/2012 9:25:55 PM PST by whodathunkit
SWISSDALE - State police say a Woodward Township, Clinton County, man died from a bear attack.
The state Game Commission, however, disagrees, believing that Gary Lininger died of injuries caused when a tree fell on him.
Lininger, 62, died on Oct. 16, according to the Clinton County coroner. His body was found four days later outside his secluded mountain home along Tedrow Lane, just off Route 664, the Coudersport Pike, above the village of Swissdale and some eight miles north of Lock Haven.
Coroner Donald G. Walker said the death was not suspicious, but he ordered an autopsy to determine the cause because of the uncertain circumstances surrounding Lininger's passing.
Walker declined any comment on the case other than saying the death was accidental.
But his finding prompted an immediate investigation by state police at Lamar and the state Game Commission.
Trooper Matthew R. McDermott, who headed the probe, released his final report Tuesday afternoon, saying that, while Lininger's death was accidental, "a bear attacked the victim."
"The victim fell a tree, it struck him, rendering him dazed or unconscious. While in this state, a bear attacked the victim, which ultimately resulted in his death," McDermott wrote in his very brief report.
Game Commission officials adamantly disagree with that ruling.
"There's never been a documented bear killing of a human in Pennsylvania. With that said, we dispute that this was a bear attack that killed this individual," David A. Carlini, the agency's information and education supervisor for the Northcentral Region based in Jersey Shore, told The Express.
"We investigated along with state police and also conducted our own investigation. We do not believe a bear attack killed Mr. Lininger. We absolutely believe that the victim was in the act of cutting the tree down, the tree fell on him and caused injuries that he died from," Carlini said via telephone.
"I am very sure of our findings of the facts. We are the wildlife experts. We've dealt with bears killing livestock, pigs, horses ... We know the characteristics of bear kills. We are basing our conclusion on that knowledge and experience," he continued.
"We are not seeing evidence of a bear attack. There were multiple scratches on the body... a lot of them post mortem. Many of the other injuries were also post mortem. Some of the injuries were not post mortem ... believed caused by the tree falling on him."
Part of the reason the Game Commission believes Lininger died from injuries from a falling tree or limb is because the victim was feeding bears at his property, Carlini said.
"There were bear droppings in and around where the deceased was found. Those droppings contained contents of what was being fed in a feeder at the deceased's property ... so that's a reason why bears would be there," he said.
"We're not disputing all of the facts, we're disputing the summation and opinions by others in this case.
"We are not disputing there could have been bear or other animals involved. He was in the woods for three or four days. They could have taken advantage of that body laying in woods. We're not disagreeing that a bear found him afterwards," Carlini explained.
Despite the disagreement on Lininger's cause of death, Carlini said he doesn't want people to be afraid or panic that there's a dangerous bear on the loose in the county.
"People should always be cautious and respect bears. But to fear there is a man-eating bear attacking and stalking people, we do not believe that," he said.
Clinton County is considered bear country, typically coming in among the top three or five Pennsylvania counties in the number of bears harvested each hunting season. The just-ended bear season was no exception, with an estimated 217 bears harvested, just behind Lycoming County's 239, according to preliminary figures.
The Game Commission has studied black bears in Pennsylvania since its inception.
Wildlife conservation officers and biologists regularly provide information on bear habits, and offer precautions that people should take as the bear population continues to increase and more of the animals come into contact with humans.
"Our perceptions of bears are a product of their mostly shy, mysterious nature and powerful presence, not to mention the timeless tales that have been told about them. Unfortunately, there's as much misinformation about bears in circulation as there is fact. And that's too bad, because bears needn't be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless," the agency advises.
Bears "simply need to be respected," the agency says. "Pennsylvania's bear population has been increasing for decades, and at the same time, many people have moved into the areas where bears reside. As a result, bears and people are coming into contact more than ever. And most of these encounters occur when bears learn that where people live there's easy-to-obtain food. Learning about bears and being aware of their habits is important for people who live in bear country, which now includes most of the state," the agency advises on its web site.
"Bears may be on the move at any time, but they're usually most active at dusk and dawn. Bears are omnivorous, eating almost anything, from berries, corn, acorns, beechnuts and even grass, to table scraps, carrion, honey and insects. During late summer and fall, black bears fatten up for winter hibernation. At this time they may actively feed for up to 20 hours a day, ingesting up to 20,000 calories."
The agency advises that, if you live or have a summer home or camp in bear country, make accomodations to peacefully co-exist with these large animals.
"Make sure you don't encourage bears to become problem bears by putting your garbage where it's available to them or, even worse, by intentionally feeding them. Black bears will consume almost anything. They will eat human food, garbage, bird feed, pet foods and livestock feed. They also raid cornfields and beehives. Once bears find easily accessible food sources, whether on a farm or in a housing development, they lose their wariness of people and will keep coming back as long as food is available. The best way to get rid of these unwanted visitors is to remove the food source for a month or more, but even then, there are no guarantees. A persistent bear may damage property, increase the risk of human injury or become an unwanted visitor in other parts of the neighborhood. And, all too often, fed bears become dead bears."
The sparsely populated region has been billed as a safe place for a wilderness experience only a few hours drive from major metropolitan areas.
With a large herd of 'wild' Rocky Mountain Elk (which seem to enjoy living in local residences yards) and a breeding population of mountain lions that the Pennsylvania Game Commission vehemently denies exist, the denial of an attack by a black bear is in keeping with their agenda of 'wilding' the region.
I guess that their notion that a Pennsylvania bear is much less likely to attack a human than some other states bear makes sense in their convoluted logic.
My condolences to his family and am saddened to hear that his life ended in such a tragic manner.
I have a lot of wild life in my rural area.
But truthfully, if I looked out my back door and saw a bear (or ginormous alligator) I would most likely die of fright!
My 26 year old daughter lives a couple of miles from Whistler Village in Canada. She woke up the other morning to find bear track in the snow on her patio. She’s come across them on bike rides around the lake, too. VERY plentiful there.
How many calories is a full grown man??
neighbor said “He seemed like such a nice bear”
So, your basic human would yield around 110,000 calories.... apparently
And a dog bit a man!
What do bears call bikers?
Answer: Meals on wheels.
Jokes aside, the article had this whopping bureaucrapic baffle-gabbing line: “The agency advises that, if you live or have a summer home or camp in bear country, make accomodations to peacefully co-exist with these large animals.”
Peace be with you and yours - and peace comes through superior firepower. Consider a .357, a 10mm, better would be a .44 magnum. Best would be a .454 Casuel. Black bear really do not require a 500 S&W to deal with their occasional outbreaks of Bad Bruin Behavior syndrome.
Twice in my life I have had year or two year old blk bear boars (150 lbers) come in on me like a cat on a rabbit, front quarters down, butt up in air, ears going back and forth like crazy. They didn't run in, they came in slow. I was able to hollar and wave one off, twice and I shot the bear the second time it happened to me. Don't ever think blk bear won't eat ya, they can be just as dangerous as any grizz that you surprise. This is especially true where the bear haven't experienced too many people, they think food.
I've often wondered when bear attacks would start back in Pa?
If a tree falls in the forest, and lands on your ass, do you hear it before it squishes you or not?
And to increase the level of difficulty, throw in a bear grabbing your cheeks with his canines.
I have some friends that live just outside of Cooperstown, PA. They have had a mother black bear and her cubs come up their front porch, look through the windows, and even push on the door and windows. I can’t believe it will be that long before there are even more close encounters, especially if the bears are already that unafraid.
Hopefully the authorities will not go to those lengths to clear the bears!
I have bears in my back yard very oftin.
A long time ago I lived in Conneaut Lake, Crawford County. Looking back I realize it was ideal bear country, heavily wooded with a lot of farms but I never heard of any bears. A lot of wildlife but no bears. I wonder if its changed.
Pleasantville (sixteen miles away) is overrun with them. I was reading a book in the backyard of my sister’s house and one walked up to me about eight feet away until I yelled at it. As he ran into the woods two more caught up with him.
Damn! That bear must have been really “pissed off” to kill the man and then throw a tree on top of him.
A little anger management goes a long way.
Black bears used to roam in the western and middle part of our state; for many years now they’ve been confined to the eastern (Smoky Mountain) part of the state. Guess if the gubmint decides to “gift” us with some more wildlife, they could show up on the scene back here.
About two weeks ago, I saw a dead black bear on the apron of I 26, within sight of Erwin.
I have had a big black bear come on my porch here in central Fla. several times because I have a cat on the porch with cat food. (The bear pushed the door open even though it was locked.) I had to put the food away at night but a couple of times I yelled at the bear through the window in the door and it backed up and left. We are seeing black bears even in our towns here now. My nephew said to swab some of the porch with some Pin-Sol as they do not like strong smells. It burns their noses. It definitely worked! You might tell your neighbors to try this.
My mom grew up in a little house near the Indiana/Jefferson County line in western PA. My grandfather was a coal miner, who over the decades, increased his property to include a small farm and a couple fruit orchards. My two aunts still live in a newer house on the property and essentially end up sharing the orchard produce with the local black bears.
We've been here in Alaska 20 years, all kinds of bear both blk & grizz; except most of the time the grizz stay up on our summits. People here shoot every bear they see as the pests they are, and dangerous ones too. We had a few local bear getting into the burn barrel, then our dogs chased a few off. So I set up a bait station a mile behind our place and my kids shot 8 bear the first year. After a couple spring seasons and 25 bear, I started to notice less bear around which was a good thing. Once you have bear on the porch getting into things, looking around, it's time to clean them out or you will come home one day to find a bear in the house that doesn't want to leave. They figure out pretty quick there's better food inside than out. I've personally seen grizz knock a heavy wooden door right off it's hinges in log cabins, with an old Indian inside.
I have a game cam, you wouldn't believe the picts I have from my bait station, how the bear interact with each other in the woods when nobody's watching.
I have from my bait station, how the bear interact with each other in the woods when nobody’s watching.
Absolutely! The bears here are suffering greatly from mange and is an indication of overcrowding.
I live about an hours drive from where this man was killed. Bears have become an increasing problem here as well. Many 'nuisance' bears are relocated here and are acclimated to human contact. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has a three strikes policy before the bear will be put down. I wonder if the bear who got this guy was one of those? They have ear tags to identify the relocated bears.
In North Georgia we go deer hunting and more than once have come back to parked four wheelers and will find the foam seats totally destoyed by bears. Nothing else touched.
“They hate the seats! Stay away from the seats!”
With apologies to the movie “The Jerk.”
I would have 200 picts a day on game cam and usually 15-20 different bear visiting my bait barrel all day and all night long. When a big bear was there and a smaller bear came in for some eats, the big bear would stretch it's head and neck way out towards smaller bear looking big and bad and smaller bear would chatter away jumping side to side, but not coming any closer, haha. Just fun seeing how bear talk and communicate back and forth.
Have had a few bear crawl up my stand tree right under my feet like they wanted to get a taste of me, shot off 44 right nx to their head and down the tree they went.
After I quit hunting the bait station, the bear clean out barrel pretty quick. Then they follow my 4 wheeler trail back to my house for a week or two. The bear show up in my yard and dogs run them off. They must wonder why I haven't brought them any goodies and come looking.
Bears around here all eat each other, I’ve never seen mange, just minor rubs.
If youd like to be on or off this Outdoors/Rural/wildlife/hunting/hiking/backpacking/National Parks/animals list please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.
Black bears are so nasty they will eat their own dead siblings after they “ripen up”. They can peel a locked car open in about 15 minutes. They can rip canned goods open with their claws and teeth. I saw a car ripped open to get animal crackers out of a child’s seat.
“I cant believe it will be that long before there are even more close encounters, especially if the bears are already that unafraid.”
Just wait until until 10 minutes after their welfare checks fail to show up one month in the very near future, LOL!
(Sorry - couldn’t resist!)
The reason for the post was not for the gruesome aspect of the poor fellows death . It is, instead an unusually clear insight into what we will be subject to with the push for Agenda 21. Please let me explain what I have read 'between the lines'.
The real subject of the story is the disagreement between a state game agency and a state police agency. In the police investigation the facts pointed to a bear attack. The state game agency rapidly denied that any of their bears would do such a thing and therefore they reject the finding of facts. Does this make sense? Absolutely not! The Pennsylvania State Game Commission has been implementing many of the policies of modern environmentalism. Many of the residents in the rural parts of Pennsylvania have been scratching their heads every time they make a rule change or implement new policies. Other state agencies have been acting in a similar manner and when viewed as a whole it is obvious that Agenda 21 is alive and well here. Large tracts of private land have been purchased by environmental groups and donated to the state. We are losing lots of property tax income once it is public land as well as many private development opportunities which could boost the local jobs market. The transfer of private to state owned land has been increasing exponentially and the funding is coming from sources outside of the state.
So to sum it up, expect more stories that don't make sense. The reporters facts are correct but the squabbling agencies will leave your head spinning.
We had that problem in North Dakota, at least until someone got tired of being dismissed as merely 'anecdotal' due to the lack of an advanced degree in wildlife biology and dropped by Game and Fish with one (recently deceased) in the back of the pickup. Heck, you can't be prosecuted for shooting what isn't there...
Now we have a 'permit issued as needed limited season' on them.
Since then, game cameras have 'captured' a lot more mountain lions (in one case, three at one kill site) than anyone suspected, and far closer to population centers than was previously believed. I suggest using the cameras for proof, as some Game and Fish Departments might not take such a practical approach.
At least they admitted bears crap in the woods, that's a start...
I live in Williamsport, PA and hunt in Danville, PA.
I had a small 150 lb bear coe within 30 feet of me during the opening day of rifle deer season. The bear did not seem unafraid of me and clearly saw/smelled me.
I agree with others here that as the bear population in Pennsylvania increases, we will see more of these “encounters” between man and bear.
That is (another reason) to carry at all times.
Makes the apple picking interesting?
Years ago a friend and I would camp in the Blue Ridge. We knew the area had a large bear population but never saw one up close until
One night we heard noise near our campsite. Looking out the tent we saw a bear nosing around. We became concerned when it checked out our motorcycles and I suggested to the friend that he should do something, it was closing in on his Harley. Neither of us moved. The bear finally wandered off.
The term 'competing interests' would apply to those endeavors...
I was about 16 when the preacher asked me to take a hike with him and his son. The trip would be on the Appalachian trail across the crest of the Smokies from New Found Gap to Davenport Gap. It was a distance of about 35 miles and would be 4 nights and 5 days on the trail.
I was an Eagle Scout an experienced camper and had spent a good bit of time in the Smokies. I was table to add some experience to the crew as well as to have a great adventure.
After a very wet and uncomfortable night at the severely crowed Ice Water Springs Shelter we awoke to a clear morning. At breakfast we learned from the other hikers that there were bears. That is, we will have bears in camp at the other shelters. Later that morning, on the trail, Dr Allen advised not to worry about bears on the trail . He could smell bears and we would certainly have advance notice of a bears presence.
That evening we arrived at the shelter, an open front Adirondack stone lean to with a chain link fence across the front, After supper we saw a mama bear and two cubs emerge into the clearing below the shelter. She sent the cubs up a tree and ambled toward us to check out the smell of our supper. Having had bears in camp before, I knew that if we beat on our pans and yelled , the bear would go away. That is what happened.
The next day we made good time and arrived in the early afternoon at the next shelter. Already there was a party of young women, good Presbyterian girls, from Queens College in Charlotte. The preacher did not like the idea of another night in a crowded shelter, especially one with nearly all women. He decided we should continue to the next shelter. We had plenty of daylight and it should be no problem. At some point before leaving were advised theres a mean bear at that camp.
Somewhere along the trail we encountered some of the Queens stragglers. One girl was hiking in sneakers and the going was slow. We were told a bear took one of her boots and carried it away.
The shelter was an Adirondack lean to made from logs. It had no comforting chain link fence enclosure across the front. We settled down, ate and went to bed. It had been a long day. Then we heard the bear. It was just outside the front. We had our packs hung from nails on the beam across the top front roof line. The packs and the food were what the bear was after. We yelled and beat on something and the bear apparently left. It was hard to tell in the dark. Anyway, we returned to our sleeping bags.
Sometime later, we were again disturbed. It was the bear. The ol bear was at home, his home, and he knew all about it. He waited and then came from behind and climbed up on the roof to get the pack from above. I dont remember exactly what happened but we discouraged the bear and he left the roof. It was apparent that something must be done to remove the temptation. The solution was to take a length of parachute cord and throw it up and over a tree limb and suspend all the packs and food off the ground out of harms way.
The bear came back and gave his attention to the packs. It turned out that by standing on his hind legs and swiping with an extended paw, he could barely reach Dr Allens steel framed army surplus rucksack. He swiped one of the pockets and out came our bottle of pancake syrup and a tin of crackers. The syrup bottle broke and made a mess. The bear took off with the cracker tin. We found the cracker tin the next morning mangled, with tooth holes and no crackers.
So there we were. It was the middle of the night, we were tired from the extra miles. The bear was a better player of the game than we , and something had to be done. There was only one solution. Find a higher branch. Throwing a stick tied to a parachute cord over a high branch at night in the dark is no mean feat. It was however accomplished.
My job was to snub the line around a nail in the shelter while Dr Allen hoisted the packs as high as he could over his head. It was being done and then it happened. I cant remember if the cord broke, or if it parted, or if the knot gave way but the pack fell. It fell onto Dr Allens head and shoulders, knocked him aside and hit the ground beside him. He shouted DAMN!!!
There it was . the preacher cussed. It is a memory still firm in my mind.
The next day we had only a few miles all down hill, so we dumped our excess food in the garbage pit down below the shelter. Included was a big plastic bag of peanut butter. As we were saddling up to hit the trail, we heard a commotion at the garbage pit. There was loud coughing and gagging. We concluded the bear found the peanut butter and devoured the bag whole
A trip to remember!
We too hung our food high in a tree over a light limb about 10 feet above ground. Our dishes and cookware were clean. The bear was just curious. There isnt much that can be done about that.
At the ranger station we saw pictures of cars torn apart by bears getting food.
It is the core of the problem exposed (perhaps unintended?) by the author.
I added a tag of agenda21 to the post because of the intergovernmental infighting between two agencies, one driven by environmentalism and the other by fact finding.
Here in the "T" of Pennsylvania people are truly upset at the obfuscation by the game commission.
Interestingly, in our particular part of the state we recently found out that there is an 'environmentally sensitive' species listed in the state register as 'can not be named' by a state agency that also 'can not be named' due to it's sensitive nature!?!
I jokingly mentioned to my wife that it was probably referring to us!
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