Have gun available, so as not to have to look for it. Unloaded guns are not much use. Do not expect one shot magically to do the trick, even if it is a headshot with a shotgun. http://tinyurl.com/2rex3w Rabid Bear Attacks Rural Md. Home By Joe Holley Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, September 5, 2007; 5:10 PM The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated Saturday as World Rabies Day, but for the Stanton family of rural western Maryland, commemorative events are wholly unnecessary. The Stantons' Aug. 29 encounter with a rabid bear -- the first to test positive for rabies in Maryland -- left them feeling lucky they weren't outside that Saturday evening of the bear rampage. They're still amazed at what the disease-addled creature tried to do. Charlotte Stanton's 15-year-old nephew, James Winebrenner III, first noticed the animal, at about 7 in the evening. The bear had emerged from the thick woods surrounding the Stanton property near Grantsville, in Garrett County, and was scaling an eight-foot-high chain link fence to get at two pygmy goats that are family pets. "We had the screen door opened," recalled Charlotte Stanton, a 39-year-old homemaker. "We all started yelling to scare the bear." The bear immediately left the goats and bounded toward the house, covering the 35-yard distance in an instant. Mike Stanton, 49, Charlotte's husband, met the bear at the screen door just as the animal tried to crash through. When the couple saw the bear wasn't giving up, Charlotte took over holding the door against the creature's frenzied lunges, while Mike, a construction worker, ran to the family gun room for his shotgun. The bear then switched tactics, striding about 10 feet to the front window of the house where she tried to rip out the air conditioner, five feet off the ground. Charlotte left the door, grabbed hold of the unit from the inside and began a desperate tug of war with the 134-pound sow. "We were fighting back and forth for the air conditioner," Charlotte recalled. "I knew if I let go, he'd be coming in." The bear was making a kind of moaning sound as it grappled for the air conditioner. Charlotte was yelling at her husband: "Mike, you've got to come quick, because I can't hold the air conditioner any longer!" Mike hurried into the living room with his gun, unloaded. Sending the nephew back into the gun room for a shell, he grabbed hold of the air conditioner alongside his wife and tried to keep the bulky unit from being ripped out of the window. Once he got his gun loaded, he managed to squeeze it through a crack between the window sill and the air conditioner. When the bear grabbed the barrel, Stanton fired blindly. The No. 4 shotgun pellets struck the animal in the head and neck but didn't kill it. The wounded bear collapsed in the yard, while Mike went into the basement and peered out, concerned that the animal would manage to wander back into the woods. His wife called 911, and an officer with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources showed up about a half hour later and killed the bear. "There have been rabid bears over the years, but it's a very uncommon thing to hear of," said Harry Spiker, a black bear biologist for DNR. In recent years, he said, rabid bears have been confirmed in Pennsylvania and in Manitoba, Canada, but never in Maryland. "It's really atypical," he said. Spiker said the bear would have had to come in contact with a species that commonly carry rabies, either a raccoon, a bat or a skunk. He said it was unlikely other rabid bears were in the area. "Once it gets past the incubation period, they only survive a couple of days," he said. Maryland supports a "healthy population of black bears," Spiker said. A 2005 census found close to 400 adult and sub-adult bears, making for a total population between 500 and 600. They range from the Cumberland area as far east as Frederick. It's unlawful for someone to shoot a bear unless the person is defending himself, family members or domestic animals. The Stantons were within their rights, said Olivia Campbell, a DNR spokeswoman. "I felt really bad for the bear even though he did what he did, because I hate to see anything suffer," Charlotte said. She and her husband, along with the nephew and a 10-year-old niece who live with them, are receiving post-exposure rabies vaccinations, because Mike came in contact with the animal's blood.