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Officials speak out after bear attacks Taylor County couple

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Pixabay.com

Residents of Taylor County were baffled Monday after learning a bear attacked a couple in their own home over the weekend.

Bruce Poehler has lived in the area since 1964, and while bears are nothing new, he says he was shocked to hear about the attack.

He's not alone; Taylor County Sheriff Larry Woebbeking says he's never seen anything like it.

"We have bear activity up here, but this is the first attack of this nature that I'm aware of," he said.

Authorities say it all began when the couple saw the bear messing with their bird feeder, which they usually bring inside at night.

They yelled at the bear from inside the home to try to scare it away, and that's when it attacked.

"This bear just turned and charged without hesitation. Charged the house, busted through the window," Woebbeking said. "It had to actually come up and into the window, this was not a patio door."

The couple tried using a knife, but ultimately shot and killed the bear.

"This wasn't something that they could just walk away from," Woebbeking said. "It crashed through the window and immediately attacked. At that point you're fighting for your life."

Brad Koele, a wildlife damage specialist with the Wisconsin DNR, says the couple did the right thing in trying to scare the bear away from the safety of their home.

He says the way the bear reacted was completely abnormal.

"The bear could have used that hazing and harassment as a reaction to defending that food source," Koele said. "It could have been startled and aggressively responded."

The man and the woman were both injured, but are expected to be okay.

As the weather gets warmer, Koele says make sure to check your property to keep bears away.

"Remove the bird feeders," he said. "If you have a grill outside, make sure the grill is clean."

If you encounter a bear in the wild, Koele says the best way to avoid an attack is to make loud noises and try to make yourself as big as possible. Keep eye contact with the bear, and back away slowly.

If worst comes to worst, he says to fight back.

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