Black BearWEST MILFORD, NJ — In more “horrifying ways I never want to die” news, 22-year-old Daten Patel was possibly killed by a black bear while hiking with friends in New Jersey’s Apshawa Preserve.

Patel was with a group of five men hiking through the 576-acre wooded area when they were confronted by a 300-pound black bear. When the bear began stalking them, the group scattered in different directions.

Four of the men were able to regroup, but were unable to find Patel. Two hours after calling police, the West Milford Search and Rescue team found Patel’s body being guarded by the bear.

“Evidence at the scene indicated that the victim had been attacked by a bear,” West Milford Police Chief Timothy C. Storbeck said.

Multiple attempts were made to scare the bear away, but the bear had to be euthanized. The bear’s body was taken to a state lab where it will be examined for clues as to why it pursued the group.

Kelcey Burguess, principal biologist and leader of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife’s black bear project, said the bear could have been predisposed to attack but was probably just looking for food.

Wildlife officials say there is a shortage of the acorns and berries in the area and the hikers had granola bars and water with them. They don’t believe the hikers provoked the bear but running from it wasn’t a great idea.

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said that the safest way to handle a bear encounter is the same way I handled my ex-wife when I would come home late; move slowly and don’t look it in the eye.

If it is confirmed that Patel was killed by the bear, his death would be the second fatal bear attack recorded in the state’s history. The last one happened in 1852.

Remember that ’80s video game Spy Hunter? The one where you drove the car that could lay down oil slicks to make pursuing cars slide of the road? That’s how I will survive a bear attack. The bear would slip in the wide swath of shit I leave behind me as I run screaming through the woods, then be knocked unconscious after crashing into a tree.

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