It's a really rare event in West Virginia - a bear attack.

Seventy-year-old Richard Hines Sr. says he was bitten on the leg, leaving 12 puncture wounds.

The Hardy County resident also needed stitches for head and ear injuries suffered when he fell trying to escape the 150-pound animal at his home last week.

Since the attack, the Division of Natural Resources tried unsuccessfully to trap the bear.

DNR Biologist Chris Ryan says while attacks are rare in West Virginia, problems are increasing as the black bear population has grown from 500 in 1977 to 10,000 or more.

The state paid a record $188,000 in damage claims last year, up 92 percent from 2006.

Hines. who is recovering from the attack, says he saw a bear in his yard for the first time in 30 years last summer and even shot one outside his home in October.

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