The Hudson’s Hope resident is reportedly in good spirits and was able to tell conservation officers more about what happened when he was hunting alone on the northeast slope of Butler Ridge Saturday afternoon.
Conservation Officer Brad Lacey relays that the hunter was working his way through a patch of buckbrush and berry patches with low visibility and suddenly came upon the grizzly bear. It’s believed the bear was feeding, and the hunter was in the “wrong place at the wrong time”, especially as he was working his way into the wind and the bear likely didn’t smell him coming.
“Animals, just like us, use all their senses to determine what’s going on around them,” explains Lacey, “and obviously if he doesn’t have a good sense of smell because the person’s coming in downwind, that’s not going to help him identify necessarily what it is that’s coming through this undergrove.”
The hunter was able to get a shot off from his firearm from approximately 20 feet away, which he believes hit the grizzly before it reached him. It attacked him with its teeth starting with his face, which Lacey says is the way bears attack each other as teeth are their best weapon, and worked its way down his body.
By the time it had reached his feet, the hunter was lying still, and the bear walked away. It’s believed the bear’s motivation to attack the hunter was basic, in that it was trying to provide for itself and protect its food source as it prepares for hibernation.
“Once the bear probably realized now this thing that it perceived to be a threat to it or its food source is not a threat anymore, then it just goes about its business,” suggests Lacey.
The hunter was then able to leave and drive to a safe location where emergency services were called.
Despite better information from the hunter on the location of the attack, conservation officers have been unable to find the site or the bear, mostly because of a layer of snow covering any tracks and preventing the use of an infrared sensor to detect heat from the animal’s body.
“Unfortunately because of the snow that had fallen that morning, any tracks and any visual clues that the hunter had provided were basically obliterated.”
Since the attack was defensive in nature and in a remote area outside of Butler Ridge Provincial Park, Lacey says the public safety concern is low, but he is still asking people to keep a wide berth around the area.