Bear Response Agent Gets Bit...By Bear
Bear response agents for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are contracted. They do not receive any special training, it's all on-the-job training. Bear response agents are called on a case by case need by the FWC, to get rid of nuisance bears, remove dead bears, and sometimes give advice.
Larry Covell, a bear response agent was called to help with Juanita Brown's bear complaints. Brown had been having issues with bears trying to get to her goats. Brown had installed an electric fence but the bear was not scared off.
Covell was called to help with the bear situation. He set up a trailer culvert trap. The bear was in the trap when Covell returned, but the pin keeping the door to the bait area closed was missing. Covell stuck his hand in one end, and the bear was able to stick his head and paw in the other end grabbing Covell's hand. Brown called 911, deputies and emergency medical team responded. Covell was stabilized and taken to the hospital, and later flown by helicopter to Birmingham Alabama for surgery on his hand. He was treated by neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons for his hand. Since Covell is a contract worker he does not receive state workman's comp or insurance benefits.
The bear was weighed and tagged, and released back into the wild. “In this case, there was no suspicion of rabies,” FWC wildlife biologist Adam Warwick said. “The bear didn’t come running out of the woods and attack someone. This is a case of one of our bear response agents putting a hand in a place he probably shouldn’t have.” From NewsHerald.com.