June 16, 2023
PHOENIX — A man was attacked and killed by an adult male black bear Friday morning near the home he was building in the Groom Creek area south of Prescott.
Steven Jackson, 66, was sitting in a chair on his property when the bear attacked, apparently unprovoked. Neighbors reportedly tried to scare the bear away and stop the attack but were unsuccessful.
The bear was eventually shot and killed by another neighbor at the spot where the bear was attacking and in the process of consuming the man. Officers from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) who responded to 911 calls found the man dead when they arrived.
AZGFD officers said the bear was a large adult male black bear. Black bears are the only bear species found in Arizona. The carcass will be examined and tested for disease by the department’s veterinarian and wildlife health specialist, Dr. Anne Justice-Allen.
“Our hearts go out to Mr. Jackson’s family over today’s tragic incident,” said Todd Geiler of Prescott, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. “This was an especially aggressive, unprovoked attack that reminds us that wildlife can be unpredictable. On behalf of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and the entire staff of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, we offer our sincere condolences during this difficult time.”
There have been 15 bear attacks on people in the state since 1990. This is the second fatal bear attack in Arizona since then, which is as far back as the department’s database tracks. The first fatality occurred in 2011 in Pinetop.
The incident remains under investigation.
Bear sightings in areas with human activity should be reported to AZGFD’s 24/7 dispatch center at 623-236-7201. In an emergency, call 911. For additional information, visit the Living with Bears page at www.azgfd.gov.