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Authorities Question If Wis. Bear Attack Was Provoked

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SUPERIOR, Wis. (WCCO) – A hunter, who was trying to save a friend, survived being mauled by a black bear near Duluth this weekend. But investigators say they’re not sure if it was an innocent bear attack, wondering if it may have been provoked.

Charles Lehman said a black bear bit him and ripped his clothes after he tried to shoo it away from another hunter. The encounter happened on Saturday night in Superior, Wis.

Lehman’s arm was wounded and his clothing was torn and bloody from the attack. The aftermath was captured on the dash cam from a Superior police officer’s squad car. Paramedics rushed him to a Duluth hospital for treatment.

Lehman and his bow hunting partner, Tiffany Mallow, told police that a black bear came to eat their hunting bait, trapping Mallow in her hunting spot.

Lehman approached the bear to get it away from Mallow when it attacked and bit him. Lehman used a knife to stab the bear while it attacked and Mallow shot it with her bow.

“The bear went one direction. The couple were able to get out of the woods and get to a spot where they were able to call 911,” said Superior Police Capt. Matt Markon.

Superior officers were then able to locate the black bear where they shot and killed it.

“We’re questioning the veracity of the initial story,” Markon said.

Investigators said they are not sure if whether the couple was in danger in the first place. They wonder if the pair provoked the bear by shooting and stabbing it before it turned on them and attacked Lehman.

Conservation wardens are now looking into both scenarios and they also want to know if the couple had a hunting license.

Mallow was not injured in the attack. Lehman has been released from the hospital. The bear is being tested for the possibility of rabies.

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