Black bear mauls 15-year-old boy after walking into cabin through open door

File photo of a black bear in Whistler, B.C., walking near a gate and gravel road. A 15-year-old boy was mauled by a black bear on May 23, 2024, after it walked into his cabin through an open door. Getty Images/ Gabriel Mello

A black bear was shot and killed by wildlife officials after it entered a cabin through an open door and mauled a 15-year-old boy.

The teen was hospitalized with injuries to his face and arm but is expected to make a full recovery. A photo of the boy shared by his mother, Carol Hawkins, on Facebook showed his nose and cheek smeared with blood from the cuts on his face and a gash on his right arm.

Hawkins wrote that the family was at her parents’ cabin in Alpine, Ariz., on Thursday night, when a bear walked in and attacked her son Brigham while he was watching TV alone.

The boy screamed and caught the attention of his brother Parker who helped get the bear away from him.

“Not many kids can say they got in a fight with a bear and came out on top,” she wrote.

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department detailed the encounter in a news release, reporting that the black bear entered the cabin through an open door and swiped at the 15-year-old from behind. The bear then left the cabin and reentered for a second time. That’s when it attacked Brigham’s arm.

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Wildlife officers were able to “quickly locate and dispatch the bear,” which is estimated to be about three years old. Officials will examine the bear’s body and test it for diseases.

The boy’s mother told AZFamily TV in Phoenix that her family has been going to the cabin in Alpine for years and never “in our wildest dreams did we think (a bear) would come in the home.”

Hawkins added that her son has a rare neurological disorder and can’t move very fast.

“He hadn’t realized it because it came in from behind, and it reached over and, like, swiped at his face twice. Got him on the nose and the cheek and then went ahead and got his forehead and the top of his head,” Hawkins told the broadcaster.

The bear then left the cabin but came back and attacked Brigham again. That’s when his brother Parker heard him screaming and chased the bear out.

“It was thanks to the quick reaction by his brother and his family that they were able to distract the bear from what very easily in a matter of seconds could have turned into a real tragedy there,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department law enforcement supervisor Shawn Wagner.

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The incident marks the 16th bear attack in Arizona since 1990, two of which were fatal.

“Black bears are predatory animals and should always be considered unpredictable and dangerous,” the Game and Fish Department writes.

If you encounter a bear, do not run. Instead, back away slowly and make yourself look as big as possible.

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