Helsinki - A wounded bear attacked an unlucky hunter in Finland on the first day of the hunting season on Monday, but the man survived suffering only a big fright and a few stitches, officials said.

Together with two hunting buddies, the man was tracking a brown bear he had just wounded with a bullet in a thick forest in Kiite, in eastern Finland near the Russian border, when the bear released its anger on the shooter.

The animal escaped another round of heavy-calibre fire and the jaws of the man's hunting dog before turning on the hunter.

The bear bit the man in the arm and clawed his neck, head and back before the two other men succeeded in scaring off the animal and shooting it dead.

The hunter suffered only minor wounds, the head of the local hunting federation Hannu Tahvanainen told AFP.

The bear quota for the 2007 season, which runs from the end of August until the end of October, has been set at 79 out of a population of about 1 000 animals. - Sapa-AFP