Montana woman fights bear using courgette

image captionBlack bears are prevalent throughout many forested regions of the US

A woman from the US state of Montana has fought off a 200lb (91kg) black bear with a courgette from her garden.

The bear attacked one of the woman's dogs on the back porch of her home late on Wednesday evening, Missoula County Sheriff's Lt Rich Maricelli said.

When the woman tried to stop the attack, the bear swiped at her leg.

The woman, whom police have not named, grabbed the closest object - a courgette from her garden - and threw it at the bear, causing it to flee.

Lt Maricelli told the Associated Press news agency that the woman, who lives about 15 miles (24km) from the town of Missoula, had not sought medical attention.

Authorities were still trying to track down the bear on Thursday.

Ripped jeans

The attack happened just after midnight when the woman let her three dogs into the backyard before she headed to bed, Lt Maricelli said.

Authorities believe the black bear was just 25 yards away, eating apples from a tree.

image captionThe courgette struck the bear on the head, scaring it away

Two of the dogs sensed the bear, began barking and ran away. But the third dog, a 12-year-old collie, remained close to the woman as she stood in her doorway.

Before she knew what was happening, the bear was on top of the dog and battling the collie, Lt Maricelli said.

"She kicked the bear with her left leg as hard as she could," Lt Maricelli said.

But as she kicked, the animal swiped at her leg with its paw and ripped her jeans.

As she retreated into the house the bear stuck its head through the doorway. The woman grabbed a 14-inch courgette - also known as a zucchini - she had picked from her garden and threw it at the bear's head.

The collie appeared to be uninjured, Lt Maricelli added.

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