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October 27, 2017 10:47 pm

Sow Bear and Runner Encounter Surprise to Both

Thursday, May 19, 2016 @ 1:40 PM

Prince George, B.C. – The man attacked by a bear  near Forests for the World this week, is recouping from his injuries.

Identified as  Reid Roberts,  the 46  year old received 16 stitches to his left hand and suffered some other  superficial  injuries in the Tuesday  afternoon attack which occurred while  the marathon runner was on a “run” with his dog.

Deputy Chief Chris Doyle of the BC Conservation Officer Service  says their  investigation  revealed  the sow bear was  surprised  by  Roberts, a marathon runner, and his dog.  “It appears it was a surprise  encounter” says  Doyle “I am not  sure what noise, if any had been made at the time, but certainly all the evidence pointed to the fact  that  neither the runner, or the bear,  really had any time or notice that there was about to be  a surprise encounter.”

Roberts  credits his  dog for  preventing the sow bear  from  causing him further , more serious, injuries as the dog “Pacer” attacked the bear,  drawing attention away from  Roberts.

Given that the  bear was protecting her young in  a “surprise” situation,   Doyle explained the decision to  euthanize the sow  was  made because of the location and likelihood of a repeat  incident ” It’s a very difficult decision to make and no Officer wants to be put in the position to have to destroy an animal,  especially a bear with cubs, but   the factors  used to determine that were; the nature of  the attack also the location of the attack.  Our number one concern is ensuring  there wasn’t another  incident that might occur and due to the  location of the incident,  it was likely  something else could happen, as well as the  nature of  the incident being quite aggressive although the injuries were minor.  Given the circumstances, it could have been much worse.”

Doyle says anyone heading into the backcountry or  any wooded area should ensure they are  prepared by  ensuring their  dog is leashed “In this case,  the dog was protective of the victim and  probably helped deter further injury or attack,  but  at times, dogs will also cause  an incident either by pursuing wildlife on their own or  getting between a sow and her cubs.  Lots of times they ( dogs) may bring  the animal back to the owner,  or  the owner will try and intervene  to protect their dog  and there have been incidents  where people have been injured for those types of situations.  So   it’s better if they (dogs)  are under control and leashed. As far as other tools people can use to help  prevent those types of situations,  obviously making noise, sometimes bells will work,  also carrying  pepper spray,  it has shown to be an effective deterrent for deterring bear attacks.  It’s not meant as a repellant, but in very rare incidents where a bear is going to make physical contact with a person, the pepper spray that is made specifically  for bears, has been found to be very useful.”

The sow’s two cubs  were tranquilized and sent to the Northern Lights  Shelter in Smithers where they will be  kept until old enough to be released back into the wild.


If this “runner” was acting responsibly that bear may still be alive.

If I am not mistaken what about moose that have chased, trampled people and dogs but do not seem get “put down”, why is that?

    If you’re so concerned about it why don’t you bring it up to someone that can change the practice? Otherwise lets stop blaming the runner for his actions and let it go.

If this “runner” was acting responsibly
He would pack bear mace and where bells.
I have yet to see anyone out jogging, or just plain walking in Forests for the world, and have bear spray.
A mother bear is dead because he thinks he is safe with a dog.
I have a large dog but I don’t go into any forest without bear mace.

    I don’t have a large dog but I do have a large lead chucker I always have when I’m out in the forest.

    The runner did nothing wrong.

    People that carry bells sometimes still get attacked and/or eaten by bears.

    Also, people sometimes get attacked and/or eaten by bears before they have a chance to deploy the bear mace that they may be carrying. The same goes for people carrying firearms.

    A bear can close 100 yards in under 10 seconds. What sort of chance do you think you’ll have to get your bells or spray ready if the bear is 5 or 10 feet off the trail when it decides to attack you? The short answer is that you won’t have a chance.

    In a surprise encounter like this, all you can do is put up a fight and hope it eventually stops.

People that blame this guy for the bear being put down are morons.

    It was his fault for not taking proper precautions, plain and simple. For not taking those precautions he is lucky to get off as light as he did.

      Deputy Chief Chris Doyle of the BC Conservation Officer Service says their investigation revealed the sow bear was surprised by Roberts, a marathon runner, and his dog. “It appears it was a surprise encounter” says Doyle “I am not sure what noise, if any had been made at the time, but certainly all the evidence pointed to the fact that neither the runner, or the bear, really had any time or notice that there was about to be a surprise encounter.”


      So based on the finding of the investigation, can you enlighten us as to the precautions that could’ve been taken to prevent this attack?

The officer say that it is important that a dog be on a leash. Was the dog in this case leashed – or not? This is not a political story, it is a report about an encounter with a bear and her cubs! Do not tell me to read the story! I did, several times. No mention about Mr. Roberts running while having control of the dog by means of a leash!

    Runner’s own statement says dog was off leash and he believes that saved him further injury.

      In other words he ignored the signs posted there which require a dog to be on the leash as it is Bear Country. Well done!

NMG,making noise, and have bear spray. He surprised the bear by coming upon it quickly and silently and the bear did what comes naturally when surprised and feeling threatened.

I am a hiker and have seen many bears in the Bush and our urban trails and so far never had an issue. I made the bears aware of my presence and they moved on. The only time I have been threatened is by a moose and I came close to spraying him. Would have been interesting to see the effect of bear spray on that big nose.

In the Bush a runner is not entitled. I have seen many runners in the Bush and have been amazed by their lack of precaution.

So yes this attack most likely could have been prevented.

    I am a hiker and have seen many bears in the Bush and our urban trails and so far never had an issue. I made the bears aware of my presence and they moved on.


    The ones that you saw moved on. I can almost guarantee you that there were many that you didn’t see, that simply stood there in the bush, silent, and watched you go on your way, all the while ringing your bells and making noise :)

    Just be thankful you didn’t stumble upon a sow that was huddled down with her cubs or guarding a kill.

      Been in the bush for six decades and don’t where bells. I yell bear now and again depending on the territory I am in. Bears and other wild life take more notice of the human voice than bells.

      I don’t think you have the experience to make a comment on the subject do you.

      The fellow that was attacked said the bear was on him in 5 seconds. I’ll have to assume the bear spray folks practice shooting their bear spray in order to use it in under 5 seconds.

Maybe all the bear huggers can fund a bear bell campaign. You can go out into the forest, tranquillize every bear out there and install bells around their necks. It would also provide an excellent opportunity to actually hug the bears before you revived them for release.

    You must be an entitled runner.

Bear encounters happen. They can happen on the trail, middle of nowhere and even in your yard. We live close to nature.
While it is troubling that the bear was put down, it is equally troubling that a person was harmed.
Compare the numbers of bears which get destroyed because of these encounters vs bear/vehicle incidents. You will quickly find that many more bears are dying because of vehicles. I dont hear any of you getting upset about the bears who get hit on our highways! Nor are any of you pointing blame towards the drivers who hit the bears..
To those who point an accusing finger at Mr. Roberts (or his dog), pull your head out of that dark hole behind you.
He was out enjoying our surroundings with his faithful companion, the bear was defending it’s young. Very unfortunate that they crossed paths and this occured, but this is not a regular occurance. Armchair know-it-alls (who spend all their time indoors on the computer) have no business passing judgement here.
I grew up in the bush, and only pack a gun when I am hunting/or in known Grizzly territory. My dog is free to roam with me and I have never carried bear spray. I do try to make my presence known, but close encounters happen. Sounds like this case was more bad luck than anything else.

Speedy recovery to you Mr. Roberts, sounds like your best friend deserves your utmost gratitude.

    “”pull your head out of that dark hole behind you””. Brave thing to say hiding behind your keyboard.

      “Brave thing to say hiding behind your keyboard.”…. THIS, coming from you… a little ironic is it not?

Well if you have your dog on a leash? It wont chase the bear and it wont shit all over. Lets face it people who don’t keep their dog on a leash
don’t want to clean up behind it.


Seems not much was learned by this incident as the person who was injured seems to want to continue to run through the bush. Bad time of the year to be doing that.

Cougars take an interest in things that run through the bush, and have on occasion attacked them. This is usually people on bicycles, however a man and dog running might get a cougars attention.

My advice would be to try and run in an area where there are no bears with cubs, or moose, deer, and other wild life.

When im in the bush I have my friend Remington and my dog with me at all times, two great companions.

@ seamutt: Is yelling “bear” the responsible act and proper precautions you, in your own words, hide behind your keyboard and bravely suggest this runner should have done?

Should he have or have you ever continuously yelled “bear”? Is it safe to assume that you could still surprise a bear in between your random “bear” shouts?

I agree that making noise while in the bush is an excellent idea and do it myself, but I am questioning what you think is appropriate and responsible since you have brought it up a couple times??

I’ve had many encounters with animals in the bush. Most are fine, so long as they have an exit route and aren’t cornered. Some have been downright scary, and occasionally luck was involved.

Seen a bear one time in the side channel across from the boat launch out Miworth. I was floating through from the upside with a buddy and my dog. Cubs were on one side of the channel and we floated between them and momma bear. She charged the canoe through waist deep water faster than I could ever run on land… buddy turtled… I turned to face the bear and stood up as tall as I could with my paddle overhead making me look even taller and yelled back off at the top of my lungs maybe a half second before being run down and she turned in a bluff and went for the young. That was a really scary one, but keeping ones mind of presence I think averted something much worse.

Once had a wolverine charge at my dad when we were fly fishing way back up the Blackwater river where we use to hike in for the weekends. I was only maybe 12-years old at the time. The wolverine crossed the river three times in pursuit before he came in range and I got a few shots off. I had no idea a wolverine would even go near the water much less cross a fast creek. Same trip we got charge by a bear on the hike out, and my dad put it down with a shot through the spine I think, but it kept coming and ran right past us before collapsing. I didn’t like tenting it in the Blackwater after that trip.

I had a pack of wolves once confront me and my dog along the Nechako river out by the Ski club. First one along the trail was massive and tall, like a 180 pound wolf. My dog just froze in his tracks. One wolf came up one side of my dog, then another up along the other side… just sneering at this point and smelling… then another wolf came up behind and a few more were going the long way around through the bushes… I thought at any second all hell would break loose and I would be next in the frenzy. I backed slowly up to the cut bank and raised my small hatchet I had, so I could take it down on at least one of the wolves to injure it before jumping for my life. Then I started talking to them to just move along… slowly started to raise my voice letting them know I was serious about leaving them a god exit, but prepared to fight if it came to that. The lead wolf I guess figured it wasn’t the worth the trouble and decided to move along with the others quickly following him. My dog didn’t move a muscle through the whole encounter and probably saved both of our lives for that. He just stood his ground firmly and didn’t move.. letting them make the first move. I learned a dangerous wolf encounter can happen even in close to the city and give them an out and you might walk away from it.

I have had other encounters with bears in trees, bears in my yard, and bears in my campsite… the common thread with them all is that if you give a bear an escape route they will almost always avoid conflict.

I think if one runs in the bush with a loose dog, its a dangerous practice, but if the runner knows how to handle the situation it doesn’t have to be deadly. Problem is all margin of error is out the window and in this case a bear is dead through no real fault of its own.

The absolute worst thing you can do is shoot a charging bear. Read NMG’s post, highly unlikely you would get a hundred metre warning from a surprised bear, more likely 25 or less. I don’t know too many hunters or firearm enthusiasts that could keep a steady aim in the face of a charging, scared animal. The likely scenario? Shot goes wide or wounds the bear, now you’re really in trouble. Bear experts all agree, bear mace is a far more effective & safer deterance than a gun. I always carry bear spray & so far I have never had to use it, last summer was the first time I even pulled it out of the holster & removed the safety (sow & 2 Cubs at Otway), much like Eagleone wrote, I talked quietly & backed away slowly. They moved on & so did I. I’ve also had encounters where it happened so fast that nothing would have saved me had the bear chose to attack. It is sad that a bear had to be destroyed & cubs orphaned. Speedy recovery to Mr. Roberts.

The big question is why did the sow need to be destroyed. Time to review the policy of the Conservation Service. This makes no sense at all. A bear in the woods with young cubs was surprised and the encounter lead to minor injuries. So put up a sign warning people in the woods to make their presence known. They can decide whether to stay or go run at Massey Place.

Grover. The next encounter might lead to more than minor injuries. If we are going to have people (and young children) walking through the forest where there are sow bears and cubs, then we are going to have some encounters.

So kill the bear or run the risk of having someone killed. That’s your choices. There is one other choice and that is to stay out of the bush in the early spring.

We are completely surrounded by wildlife in the greater Prince George area, mainly because they are located in no hunting areas, and feel relatively safe. We have instances of bears wandering through industrial sites, etc;

    It’s comments like this that leave me shaking my head. Yeah, let’s perpetuate the disneyfied myth of the big bad predator. First, we are in the late stages of spring, second, contrary to what Palopu continues to propagate, there is not a hungry, evil, angry bear waiting behind every tree waiting to spring on the unwary. If large predators wanted to make us part of their diet, believe me, there would be a lot fewer hikers, cyclists, hunters etc. Are large predators dangerous? Yes. Should we give them the utmost respect & stay away from them? Yes. Should we cower in fear, hide in our homes & not adventure out into what is arguably the most beautiful part of the world? Hell no. Take precautions, educate yourself, collect experiences & enjoy what is literally in our back yards but for heavens sake don’t let the fear mongerings of a few rule your lives.

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