Sep 23, 2010 7:20 PM by Irina Cates (KPAX)

New details in Frenchtown "bear versus zucchini" incident

A Frenchtown woman successfully fended off a black bear who charged at her in the backyard of her home - and she did it with a zucchini.

The incident happened just after midnight on Wednesday on Sorrell Springs Road.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she opened her back door to let her three dogs out and a short time later the dogs started going crazy.

The woman then opened the back door and saw a bear swiping at her collie and batting him around.

She started to yell at the bear in an attempt to scare it away, but the bear then charged at her. The bear swiped at her with his paw, tore through her pant leg and scratched her on the leg.

The woman then grabbed a large zucchini off her counter and threw it at the bear; the zucchini hit the bear near the head and it left the area.

The woman received minor scratches on her leg that did not require medical attention. The collie was taken to a Missoula veterinarian for treatment and observation and does not appear to have life-threatening injuries.

According to MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks staff member James Jonkel, the bear was probably drawn to the home because of some nearby fruit trees and berries. The property did not have other backyard bear attractants like garbage or livestock feed, and James Jonkel of MT FWP said that this homeowner was doing all the right things in keeping these things out of the bear’s reach.

Jonkel noted, “Bears are in a period of intense eating before the winter season right now and we’ve had a lot of reports of bears in neighborhoods over the past few weeks. Making sure attractants out of a bear’s reach is very important in preventing conflicts and keeping bears focused on natural food sources. Residents should pick fruit from trees or secure them with an electric fence.”

FWP officials set a trap in an attempt to capture the bear and will then determine the next steps. Wardens also collected all items at the scene that might have traces of bear DNA in an attempt to link a captured bear with the one involved in the incident.

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