ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY — A 50-year-old Boy Scout leader was taking three scouts on a Sunday hike yesterday when he accidentally woke up a hibernating bear.
NJ.com reports that Christopher Petronino was leading the scouts to a cave near Split Rock Reservoir in Rockaway Township in Morris County. Petronino entered the cave, which he had visited before, but this time there was a bear inside and it bit his foot and dragged him inside.
Petronino was bitten on both shoulders and the leg. He struck the bear with a rock hammer and covered his head with his sweater. Petronino told the scouts to leave and find help but also put whatever food they had by the mouth of the cave.
Eventually the scouts' barking dog scared the bear away and Petronino was airlifted to the hospital. His injuries were not life threatening.
Northern New Jersey recently held its annual black bear hunt, meant to keep bears away from population centers. Some 510 bears were killed in the hunt.