Bear captured after chasing two people at Granby refuge, Connecticut


Black bear.

A black bear chased a man and a woman out of a refuge in Granby on Monday.

It happened at the McLean Game Refuge on Brandoor Hills Road.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was searching for the animal, and at a little after 2:30 p.m., officials had brought in a bear trap to help capture the bear.

It said the victims were identified as 62-year-old Clyde Grindal and 25-year-old Jessica Kraiza.

Officials said the two people were chased "by an unusually aggressive black bear" in separate incidents within one hour.

The man allegedly suffered some scratches including a laceration to the chest and was treated at the scene. Officials said it is unclear if the scratches were from tree branches while he was running from the bear.

The woman told officials that the bear came up to her when she was walking the trail near the trout pond.

"It chased her first, but it was for a short period of time, the bear lost interest with her, but maybe a minute later, based on the calls Granby police got, the male was chased," said Col. Kyle Overturf of DEEP police.

Kraiza said she was training for a half marathon when she turned around and noticed the bear was running after her.

"I thought I was going to die. It didn't feel real," she said. "I was just hauling it and praying for my life."

She said she tried everything to stop the bear, from throwing a piece of clothing on the ground to getting on top of a bench and standing still.

"My next reaction was there was a big bench. The way I was taught was if you have a bear near you is to get up on top of something and pretend to be big and be still," she said.

When nothing worked, she ran away with the bear in hot pursuit.

"I just figured the only way I was getting out was if I sprinted and good thing I'm a big runner," she said.

She said at one point she was running down a hill and said the bear was only just about two arm's length behind her.

The bear started foaming at the mouth, she said, and that is when she said she thought her life was over.

"I just sprinted the other way and I don't think I've run so fast in my entire life," Kraiza said.

But to her surprise, the black bear stopped chasing after her when something else distracted him.

"I was screaming the whole time and as soon as he saw the other families, he completely stopped at the cabin and turned back around," she said.

DEEP said the bear is about one-and-a-half years old and weighed about 140 to 160 pounds. Officials searched for the bear for several hours.

They had said if they are able to catch the bear it will be euthanized "because of the aggressive behavior it displayed toward humans." As of 10 p.m. it is unclear if the bear had been euthanized.

Police said this was an unusual situation, as black bears are no stranger to Connecticut and are rarely aggressive.

"It's not completely unheard of, but we don't know exactly what happened here today, whether the bear was surprised at a food source, or if cubs were involved," said Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist. "Bears actually chasing people, it's quite rare, but not completely unheard of. Across the country, black bears have killed people."

A nearby school was also on alert and walkers were denied access to the trail while the search went on.

"I don't know if this bear happens to maybe not feel so well, but I've never had any issue with it, walking through here all the time," said Ann Mikkelson of Granby. "He just looked at me, but if he had cubs, I would never go near him."

Both of the victims are expected to recover.

Officials said they canvassed several miles of the area while searching for the bear. They had also set a trap.

The Refuge is open to the public, offering trails and picnic areas.