Experienced bow-and-arrow hunter severely mauled by black bear in San Bernardino Mountains

BANNING, Calif. (KABC) -- It's bear hunting season in the San Bernardino Mountains, but on Friday, a bear mauled a hunter after it was shot with an arrow.

"There were three people hunting - archery hunting for bear - it was legal archery hunting season in that zone of California," said Patrick Foy, with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A hunter, who spoke to Eyewitness News off camera, said the man mauled by the bear is an experienced hunter who made a costly mistake. He said his friend didn't wait long enough after striking the bear.

The man thought he'd killed the animal and left his perch to get a closer look at the estimated 300-pound black bear.

"When he ran up to the bear, the bear attacked him and it mauled him severely," Foy said.

The man survived, but his current condition is unknown.

Archery bear hunting season runs from late August until early September. Hunters who obtain a license and bear tag are only allowed to use a bow and arrow. Firearms are prohibited, but a petition allowing hunters to carry a sidearm for self-defense is under consideration by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"Approaching an animal that's injured can be dangerous or can at least put that animal in a position where it's going to forcibly defend itself thinking it's under threat," Foy said.

The department is investigating the incident.

"Bear attacks are really, really rare. We've had incidents - even recent incidents - where a bear did come into physical contact with a young guy who was camping. We've had a few cases over the last few years of bears, but nothing to this degree," Foy said.

Two other hunters who were with the mauled man were not injured, and the bear died from its wounds.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.