The phone has been ringing off the hook at the Quesnel Conservation Officer Service headquarters this month.
Anyone who has spent time on local internet forums has seen countless warnings and pictures of bears across the city and its surroundings.
Officer Ryane McIntyre, who is often on the other end of these calls, says this season isn’t any worse than past autumns for bears, but acknowledges it is always a tough time of year.
“We’re in the heat of it right now,” she points out, saying she just responded to a call on Monday morning to put down a bear, the 10th she and her colleagues have had to kill this month.
“Bears are ferociously forging for food and they are out in the day as well as during the night.
“Very little will scare them off if they think they have a food source, and we’re pleading with the public to secure their garbage bins and pick up the last bit of fruit from their trees.”
McIntyre says some bears become habituated to the presence of people and it is these animals that are the most dangerous.
“When they’re habituated they don’t run off and will start to protect the garbage that they have claimed as their food.”
“Unfortunately in these instances it is often the bear that loses the battle.
“We can’t risk a small person walking by when the bear is protecting it’s food source,” she says. The bear has to go before it harms the child.
“It’s the last thing we want to do, but we don’t have the resources to go door-to-door telling people to put their garbage away.”
She recommends people use their garages, mud rooms and basements to store garbage during this season, as even the sight of garbage containers can trigger the hungry animals.
Anyone looking to contact a conservation officer can call 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Lines are open 24 hours a day.
Hunter road block
When not responding to calls about problem bears, McIntyre and her colleagues are ensuring hunters are following protocol.
A road check was conducted by three conservation officers, three RCMP officers and a fishery officer on Sunday (Sept.23).
McIntyre says it was a successful operation with only a few small offences due to wildlife transport issues.
Ninety hunters and 17 anglers were checked and 10 violation tickets were issued.
There were eight warnings issued; one mule deer and three rifles seized; as well as two DUI charges handed out.
Wildlife checked included halibut, coho, crab, bear, elk, grouse, moose, mountain goat and white tailed dear.