Hunter Kills Attacking Grizzly and Sustains “Significant Injuries”

Hunter Kills Attacking Grizzly and Sustains “Significant Injuries”

A pair of unnamed black bear hunters in British Columbia tangled with a grizzly bear last week, and one of them sustained “significant injuries” for his trouble.

The pair were hunting black bears with dogs on May 16th just south of Elkford, B.C., near the Alberta border, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). One of the hunters, a 36-year-old resident of Sparwood, B.C., was “attacked suddenly by an adult grizzly bear.”

The bear got its paws on the hunter, who sustained broken bones and lacerations to his body during the attack. But he was somehow able to fight it off and shoot it with a firearm, and the bear ran away.

The other hunter was the victim’s father, and he called emergency responders to the scene. A search and rescue team coordinated a long-line helicopter rescue after the victim was moved to a more accessible location 200 meters down the side of the mountain.

He was taken to the Calgary Foothills Hospital, and he was in stable condition when he left the scene. Officials have not provided an update on his status.

“Elk Valley Regional RCMP wish to express their appreciation for the hard working people and volunteers who responded and worked together to bring the injured man down the mountain,” the RCMP said in a press release.

B.C. Conservation Officers responded to the scene to try to figure out what happened to the bear. The Conservation Officer Service reported that after an extensive search, the bear’s body was found around 9:00 p.m. that evening.

“Officers are confident that they located the bear involved in the attack. The bear succumbed to its wounds,” they said.

Officials have not said what type or caliber of firearm was used, whether the bear was male or female, or what prompted the attack. A request for comment to the Conservation Officer Service was not answered by time of publication.

It is legal in B.C. to hunt black bears with dogs, and there has been no indication that the hunters were not properly licensed.

Grizzly bear hunting has been illegal in B.C. for non-First Nations hunters since 2017, but it has remained a contentious issue. Last year, the province released a draft of a new Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework that some believed could be the first step in reversing the ban.

The framework claimed that the ban was not instituted to conserve grizzlies but instead was made at the behest of “many British Columbians’ ethical or moral opposition towards grizzly bear hunting.”

“Before licensed and regulated hunting of grizzly bears was closed across B.C. in 2017, it is possible that it was a threat to grizzly bears in some areas,” the framework reported. “But given the conservative rates of harvest, that risk was very low.”

It goes on to explain that even though grizzly bears were hunted from the ‘80s to 2017, “no declines were attributed to overharvest under regulated hunting.”

B.C. has one of the highest concentrations of grizzlies across North America, with an estimated population of 15,000.

This isn’t the first incident this year of a grizzly bear being killed by a hunter in self-defense. Earlier this month, a Montana shed hunter killed a female grizz he said had charged him from about 20 yards away. The bear had a cub nearby, which was later recovered.

Then, over the weekend, a visitor to Grand Teton National Park was seriously injured after having a “surprise encounter” with two grizzly bears. The 35-year-old Massachusetts man was airlifted to a nearby hospital and is expected to fully recover.

To stay safe in grizzly country, be sure to pack a pistol, bear spray, or both, and follow local guidelines to avoid encounters.

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