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Target of 100-Mile bear attack recovering at home

Dog walker attacked by bear near Forest Grove
Five northern communities accounted for nearly 20 per cent of all black bears killed in the province. (Angie Mindus/ Black Press Media)

An individual walking their dogs were attacked by a bear around noon on Friday near Forest Grove, said conservation officers.

The victim, whose identity has not been released, received non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to 100 Mile House Hospital by a family member where they were treated and released.

The victim was walking their dogs off leash when the dogs ran into the bush only to come back out with a small black bear chasing them.

Conservation officer Murray Booth said the bear attacked the individual, stopped momentarily then attacked again. The bear stopped the attack and the victim was able to leave the area and make their way home.

Conservation Officer Service (COS) members were informed of the attack but by the time they got to the site, there was no sign of the bear.

“All evidence collected in this investigation indicates this was a defensive reactive attack,” said Booth. “It was definitely not predatory.”

The attack was triggered by the dogs who encountered a sow and her cub when they ran into the bush. The victim did not see any sign of the bear and had no idea it was coming, he said.

“This was a non-habituated bear, lots of food in the area, lots of natural food. Just a remote location, a freak encounter that went wrong.”

Booth said with any mother bear, wolf, coyote, anything that is protecting its young, they will do everything they can to protect them. Once they realize the perceived threat has been eliminated they go back to their young and get them out of the area.

Booth returned to the area the next day with a family member but no sign of the bear was found.

There will not be an effort made to catch the bear due to the area and more importantly, it was a defensive attack.

Booth recommends keeping dogs on their leash when walking. One of the greatest things about living here is being able to just let dogs run. But unless a dog is trained to chase a bear away, when they get a whiff of a bear, they see the bear and they go after the bear. Then they realize this wasn’t a good idea and they come back to their people for protection.

He also said not to carry dog treats. Make lots of noise while out walking and be aware of what is going on around you.

If you do see a bear, especially a small one turn around and walk away from the area. Try to keep the wind at your back if you can and rattle a can with rocks, whistle, sing, anything to make your presence known.

In this case, the target kept their cool when the attack stopped, got up and either ran or fast walked home.

“The most important part is the person who was attacked is at home resting relatively comfortably,” he said.

Anyone having an encounter with a bear is asked to call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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