Man shoots bear; a day later, the same bear attacks the man

An Oregon man who shot a bear that had been harassing his chickens had the tables turned on him when the injured bear attacked him.

Craig Lankford of La Grande shot the bear Tuesday evening, and when he went searching for it Wednesday morning, he encountered it near his property and shot it again. Shortly after that, the bear attacked Lankford.

Responding to a 911 call around 7:37 a.m., medical services and Sheriff Deputies arrived on the scene at the same time. Roads were closed as was the adjoining Mount Emily Recreation Area due to the danger of the injured bear.

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The Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived a short time later and made a search plan to find the bear, which they did at 10:44 a.m. The bear was shot and killed. A necropsy proved it was the same bear involved in the attack.

Lankford was treated at an area hospital. He suffered injuries to his arms and head but is expected to recover.

“We are grateful Mr. Lankford survived this encounter and wish him a smooth and speedy recovery,” ODFW Watershed Manager Jeff Yanke said.

From the ODFW:

Wounded bears can be dangerous. ODFW is aware of at least three incidents when wounded bears attacked hunters who had shot but not killed them. None were fatal.

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. Oregon has not documented any fatal bear attacks.

Oregon is home to an estimated 25,000-30,000 bears. Everyone recreating outdoors or living in bear country is encouraged to take simple steps to reduce the risk of bear encounters and conflict. More information is available at

Generic photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

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