After his 17-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail, Bradley Veeder thought the flat mountaintop meadow was the perfect place to pitch a tent for the night and go to sleep. Then he was bit by the bear.“I felt a sharp pain in my right calf and an agonizing sensation like my calf was being squeezed in a vise,” wrote Veeder, 49, about the May 10, 2016, bear attack in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. A black bear had bit him through the tent, leaving one-and-a-half inch deep holes in his right calf, and then tried to come in through the tent’s opening.Yelling and punching at the animal, Veeder dissuaded it long enough to limp through the dark woods to a cabin shelter. Hikers who returned to the campsite the next day found his tent shredded and his gear gnawed.
Black bears don’t routinely attack people. But this one was dangerous, and now loose in a national park that sees 10.7 million visitors a year and has 850 miles of trails.“People don’t like it, our biologists don’t like it, when we have to put an animal down,” park management assistant Dana Soehn told BuzzFeed News