Steven Krichbaum escaped an attack by a protective mama black bear thanks to the intervention of his dog.
Krichbaum, 59, of Staunton, Virginia, was hiking through the George Washington National Forest in West Virginia Thursday when he came face to face with the black bear and her two cubs.
“I first saw the cubs and then I heard a sound and there was the mother bear,” Krichbaum said, adding that the bear immediately attacked. “She charged down the hill and bit me in the thigh.”
Experts say one of the most dangerous black bear encounters is with a mother and her cubs. They advise that anyone who has such an unexpected run-in should back away slowly and quietly.
Krichbaum, an ecology researcher, said his dog, a lab mix named Henry, sprang into action. The dog went after the attacking bear, giving Krichbaum enough time to find a rock and hurl it.
“I threw the rock at her head, didn’t want to hurt her … but just make her go away,” Krichbaum said.
The bear, which Krichbaum estimates weighed about 250 pounds, did go away.
Krichbaum and his dog managed to escape. They walked the three-quarters of a mile back to Krichbaum’s car, then he drove to the nearby Richard Fruit Market to seek help.
Market owner Eddie Richards and his wife called 911, where Krichbaum explained that he needed to get to a hospital.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said in a release that Krichbaum was treated at the Winchester Medical Center. Henry was taken to a local emergency animal hospital.