A bear attacked and injured a married couple in Wisconsin on May 20 after the animal charged through a window into their home, authorities said.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) said in a press release that officers were dispatched to an emergency call at about 11 p.m. at a home just west of Medford in north-central Wisconsin.
The couple told responding deputies they noticed a bear eating from their bird feeder. When they attempted to make it leave their property by yelling at it, the animal instead charged toward the home and broke through the window, FOX9 reported.
Police say the couple’s children were asleep in their bedrooms at the time of the incident and were unharmed. Both husband and wife suffered “numerous bites and injuries from the attack.”
The couple, who haven’t been identified, tried to defend themselves using a kitchen knife, successfully stabbing the animal. The husband was then able to grab his firearm and kill the bear.
“The bear immediately turned and charged at the house, breaking through the window and into the house and immediately attacked,” the TCSO said in the release.
The man and woman were treated at a hospital for several injuries, including multiple bite wounds, before being released.
According to authorities, the black bear was an adult female and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took the animal’s body for testing. The bear was accompanied by a cub, which reportedly ran off as the attack ensued.
The black bear is the only wild bear species found in Wisconsin and is most common in North America, according to the Wisconsin DNR.
They are normally afraid of humans, are rarely aggressive, and usually try to avoid contact. However, female bears are especially fierce when defending their young and may respond aggressively if they perceive a threat to their cubs, which may have prompted this attack.
The Wisconsin DNR advises people who encounter a black bear in their yard to scare it away by making “a lot of noise” after making sure they are in a secure area themselves.
“Make a lot of noise by yelling, honking a car horn or banging pots and pans,” the department said in an advisory (pdf) to help citizens understand the black bear’s behavior.
In recent years, Wisconsin’s black bear population has increased substantially. According to the DNR, there are more than 28,000 black bears throughout the state and their population continues to grow. In 1989, the population was estimated to be about 9,000.
Feed intended for birds might attract a wide variety of wildlife, including bears. The DNR recommends to only feed birds in the winter when bears are hibernating in their dens. It is also possible to place feeders at least 10 feet off the ground and at least five feet from any surface that can support a bear.