North

Man expected to make full recovery after predatory attack by 'emaciated' grizzly near B.C.-Yukon border

'As injuries inflicted by a grizzly bear go, they weren't as serious as they could have been'

Karen McColl - CBC

September 30, 2017

A grizzly bear in Yukon. (Government of Yukon)

A hunter from B.C. is recovering from a bear mauling, near the Yukon - B.C. border earlier this week.

The man, who isn't being named by conservation officers, was moose calling with a hunting partner along the Smart River in northern B.C. on Wednesday, when a female grizzly attacked him from behind.

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Conservation officers say the attack was predatory, meaning the bear wanted to eat the man. 

"The sow knocked the victim down the riverbank and into the river," said Cam Schley, inspector with the B.C. Conservation Officer Services in Smithers.

"The victim tried to fight the bear off and at one point was able to get the muzzle of his rifle into the bear's eye, which caused the grizzly bear to jerk back a bit."

The men travelled into an area along the Smart River by boat. (Google)

It was at that point, Schley said, the man's partner was able to shoot the bear twice, killing it. He said that action saved the man's life. 

The two men travelled by boat back to the Alaska Highway and were able to get to the Teslin Health Centre.

Schley said the man had injuries to his head, face and shoulders. He was treated and released the same day and is expected to make a full recovery. 

"As injuries inflicted by a grizzly bear go, they weren't as serious as they could have been," Schley said. "It could have been much worse."

Bear 'extremely emaciated'

Although the grizzly had two cubs with it, Schley said the bear was not defending its young.

"The sow grizzly bear definitely was treating the hunter as prey."

Conservation officers from B.C. and Yukon travelled to the site after the attack and removed the grizzly carcass. 

"The grizzly bear was extremely emaciated," said Schley. "This time of year grizzly bears should have several inches of fat and this grizzly bear had nothing for fat at all."   

Conservation officers also spotted the two cubs from the air. Schley said they are second-year cubs and old enough to survive on their own. 

Schley said the hunters didn't do anything wrong. He said it was just a rare, unfortunate incident. 

The grizzly's tooth will be sent for testing to determine the sow's age. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen McColl
News Presenter/Reporter

Karen works as the pan-northern newsreader for CBC North. She loves visiting communities outside Whitehorse and meeting people with great stories.

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