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Article Teaser: This is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada called the West Chilcotin. Since we have a high density of both black and grizzly bear, this series of articles is intended to help give you an idea of what you are dealing with when vacationing in our area.

Keep reading below...

Predator Bears - Avoidance and survival of attack by the third of the three types of bear

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

The predator bear is the one that gives me the heebie jeebies. It's also the most dangerous bear of all because it actively stalks or hunts humans, pets and livestock. Fortunately, it is also rare. Probably because man is swift to exact retribution for a bear that kills deliberately.

You have probably all heard of the bear at Laird hot springs, the couple killed while camping on a remote islet in Ontario and the couple attacked while hiking up north. In the latter attack, the man survived and reported that the bear had stalked the couple for some distance. Eyewitness accounts describe none other than a predator bear at Laird and forensic evidence in the case of the couple in Ontario points at an opportunistic bear that attacked and killed the two people before they even had a chance to set up camp, then kept them in the 'larder' for up to a week returning periodically to feed on them. They never found the bear.

No one knows what creates a predator bear and in some instances blame can be put on age, poor eyesight, few or no teeth, disease, gunshot wounds or injuries sustained otherwise. But more often than not, autopsies show the predator animal to be in excellent condition. So what causes a bear to go bad? Is it starvation, or just plain meanness? It is known that sows will teach their cubs predator behaviour and this started to become a major problem in our national parks for a few years until laws came in banning the feeding of wildlife and park wardens started monitoring problem bears more closely.

We have a rancher that has been in this area for a long, long time (no, I won't give you his name) that over the years, had killed up to fourteen grizzlies by 1988 because he was losing so many calves and some cows to one every spring. Although this would horrify most naturalists, we still enjoy quite a healthy population of grizzly in the region and the rancher was able to raise a family and make a living from ranching by taking matters into his own hands.

We also had our own incident years ago involving a hockey player famous back in the 30's. Connie King retired out here, bought a ranch and was out on horseback feeding pellets to the weaker of his cattle one spring. Over a ridge he heard noises in the willows and checked, assuming it might be a trapped cow or calf. Instead, it was a grizzly sow on the remains of a moose, and when she charged, he tried to climb a tree. The grizzly pulled him out of the tree and they fought to a standstill.

The grizzly eventually let off the attack, and he started backing up all the way across a frozen lake to his cabin on the other side. He survived, but it was not a pretty sight to see Connie in the coffee shop, even years later. He was missing part of his nose and an eye, his arm was shrunken and withered as well as the leg on that side of the body that had taken the brunt of the attack. Most interesting is that Connie King never lost his footing or went down as he wrestled with the bear.

Would he have survived if he'd played dead as some scientists suggest? Probably not, in my humble opinion.

There is some argument among naturalists and scientists on the reality of a predator bear. But if you watch some of the film footage in documentaries or read some of the authoritive books on the subject, there doesn't seem to be any doubt that such a creature exists. Smith, a friend of mine, ran into one and I'll tell his story in the next article. (I am limited by the maximum size of article permitted, hence the continuation of the series.)

What to do if you run into an animal that is actively stalking you? Obviously the bear's motive is different from that of a sow with cubs. She only wants the danger to her cubs to move away. While you may want to move away from a predator bear, you do not want to do it with your back to it. Looking as large as possible by waving your arms and yelling at it or beating a club against a tree may help. if it continues coming you will want to start backing up all the while making as much noise as possible. Try to get into a safe position and start looking at your arsenal. If you have bear spray, a knife, a pistol or a rifle, get it ready. If not, start looking for a strong stick or pole or anything that will serve as a weapon.

In the case of this type of bear, it is my personal belief, and that of some scientists, that curling up and playing dead is the wrong thing to do. That's what the bear wants in the end anyway, so make it as hard as you can on him. You want to discourage him from continuing the attack, not make it easy for him.

While some advocate climbing a large tree to get away from a bear, keep in mind that black bears can climb far better than you and grizzlies have been known to shake people out of very large trees or actually climb high enough to drag a person out of a tree as happened to Connie King as well as a couple of fellows working for Forestry north of Prince George. If that is your only option, however, then try to take a weapon of some sort up with you. The next article covers Smith's story. Until then...


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Jane Baker writes daily articles about the remote Chilcotin area in west central British Columbia, Canada. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full of wildlife, living here goes from no running water or electricity to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without the smog! To learn more about vacationing here check out http://www.resortsbc.com/index.html

All five bear attack articles with images can be found at http://www.resortsbc.com/Wilderness-AdventuresSep3.html

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Internal ID: #4584
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