Man scratched by black bear outside Florida home

Stock image of a black bear. (Pixlr)

GULF BREEZE, Fla. – A black bear attacked a man and scratched him on the chest outside his Florida Panhandle home, officials said.

The man was not seriously injured in his brush with the bear Wednesday evening. The attack occurred near Gulf Breeze, just south of Pensacola, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission news release.

The man was on his porch when the bear approached and scratched him on the chest, officials said in a statement. The man declined medical attention. Santa Rosa deputies and wildlife commission staff went to the scene, but no bears were present.

Traps were set to capture the bear, officials said. Wildlife officers were speaking with residents about bear activity and how to avoid conflicts.

“If the target bear is captured, we will humanely kill it as its behavior is a risk to public safety,” FWC spokeswoman Bekah Nelson said in an email. “Non-target bears will be released.”

The FWC hadn’t received any recent reports of other bear-related incidents in the area, the release said. While there were no attractants visible at the home where the attack occurred, food was available in the neighborhood. The release emphasized that it’s illegal to feed bears, intentionally or unintentionally, because of safety risks to both the public and the animals.