Man Injured, Bear Killed In Hunting Encounter
Prince George, B.C. – A hunter is recovering from injuries suffered late Thursday night in an encounter with a bear inside his tent northeast of Prince George.
Conservation Officer Denny Chretien of Mackenzie, who works in the Omineca Zone of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, says they received a call around 11 pm on Thursday, October 8th indicating that a person had had an altercation with a grizzly bear.
Chretien says “the gentleman did come in and he had sustained some injuries from the bear to his one leg area and, on top of his shoulder and the back, the bear had punctured, tried to looked like bite him and had created some puncture wounds to his leg and inner thigh and had scratched him on the back.”
Chretien says “the bear was acting in an abnormal behavior by going into a wall tent that had the door open to let some air in. And of course it was dark, it was 23:00 hours, you can’t really see much at that time of day and, I don’t really want to call it an attack, but the conflict and the contact was made between the bear and the man but it turned out not to be a grizzly bear, it was a black bear.”
“When the contact was made the bear bit the gentleman, probably probing to see what it was exactly. Then of course it turned out to be a human and that man then screamed and yelled. The person next to him in the wall tent, who was sleeping at the time, grabbed a firearm to protect the man and discharged a round at the bear, and that round somehow made its way through the bear and into the gentleman’s elbow.”
“We can’t determine that at this point. We did complete a necropsy. I can’t tell you if it did go through and through and what happened, but in this incident a shot was fired once from one man and hit the gentleman. I think it may have been like a ricochet shot or deviated shot through the bear or somehow may have passed by the bear but it hit the gentleman in the elbow.”
Chretien says “then the bear released the gentleman and left the tent for a short moment and then came back, and when it came back there was two other guys in another separate wall tent that had now followed the bear and were releasing rounds to the bear using shotguns. The bear was dispatched by the other members of the hunting party and the bear was deceased in the wall tent that he originally went into.”
Chretien says there were at least four, and possibly up to six hunters in the hunting party. And he adds the wall tent was sizeable, 10 by 12, “we’re not talking little pup tents we’re talking hunting wall tents.” He also says the man who received the injuries in the encounter was the person closest to the door of the tent.
The incident occurred in a moderately-isolated area off the Lower Torpy Forest Service Road at the 27.8 kilometre mark, which is 2 ½ hours northeast of Prince George. The injured man was transported to University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George for treatment.
Chretien says he completed a necropsy on the bear “and I found that the bear had no food in its intestine nor its stomach. We presume that he hadn’t fed for at least 24 hours. The bear looked like he may have been searching for food.”
“This time of year they’re in a state of feeding frenzy to get themselves to a level to get through their hibernation. They need to feed and this bear may have been triggered to do a natural thing, and that is to increase his food levels, because he was already looking to be a little bit hungry, very little to nothing in his intestine and in his stomach.”
“The camp was not dirty, it was not an attracting issue at the time, but you know any minor foods would trigger a bear’s interest and curiosity, especially when its elevated with the upcoming hibernation.” Chretien says from the necropsy, teeth wear and overall size he believes the boar was between 6 and 8 years old.
“And he was very healthy, had a lot of fat content on the muscle and also in his visceral content he had a lot of fat so overall healthy, no indications of any physical or any conditions that would have prompted him to behave outside of the natural, normal bear behavior.”
He says the bear weighed 159 kilos, which is 350 pounds.
The hometowns of those in the hunting party have not been released.