PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A bear was captured and euthanized after it attacked a man Wednesday morning in a recreation area near La Grande, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 7:37 a.m., officials responded to Owsley Canyon Road in the Mount Emily Recreation Area, where they found Craig Lankford and brought him to a local hospital.
Lankford told authorities he had shot the bear the night before because the bear harassed his chickens. On Wednesday morning, he said he searched for the bear, found it near his property and shot it again before the bear attacked him.
The sheriff’s office closed nearby roads and searched for the injured bear with the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Around 10:44 a.m., they found a bear that matched Lankford’s description.
After shooting the bear, officials say a necropsy confirmed that Lankford’s bullet fragments were found inside the animal.
Authorities say Lankford received treatment for injuries to his arms and head and is expected to recover.
“We are grateful Mr. Lankford survived this encounter and wish him a smooth and speedy recovery,” said ODFW Watershed Manager Jeff Yanke.
According to the sheriff’s office, “bear attacks are rare but tend to occur when bears are wounded, when they are being fed by people and lose their natural wariness, or when they are surprised by people or their dogs.”
ODFW says there have been at least three incidents in which wounded bears attacked hunters. However, Oregon has not documented a fatal bear attack.