A 56-year-old man was attacked by a black bear while hunting for it in the Smoky Lake area Sunday night.
Wildlife officials said the man was on private property hunting when he caught sight of a 110-kilogram male black bear. The hunter first shot the bear in the chest then followed him into the bush.
That’s when the bear struck back, mauling the man before he managed to pull the trigger again to fire the fatal shot.
“The bear was on top of him and with basically a hold of him,” said Mike Ewald, an investigator with Alberta Fish and Wildlife. “He managed to somehow get his rifle prepared and shoot the bear while he was on him.”
After the hunter killed the bear, he staggered out of the woods and his friends rushed him to a nearby farmers’ home. Local emergency crews were called to the scene.
STARS air ambulance arrived at the intersection of Range Road 170 and Township Road 602 in Smoky Lake just before 10 p.m. Sunday. They transported the man to the University of Alberta hospital with claw and bite wounds to his chest, legs and arms.
He was in stable condition and was conscious and breathing on route to the hospital. The man did, however, require surgery on his arm.
Officers believe they have located the dead bear but have set up traps in the area as a precaution while they wait for DNA testing to confirm the bear’s identity.
Ewald recommends that if you do shoot an animal, especially a bear, you should follow it in with other people and after some time has passed.
In Alberta, residents are allowed to hunt black bears year-round as long as they are on private land and have permission from the landowner.
Bear attacks in Alberta
This isn’t the first dangerous bear encounter in our province this year.
In May, Lorna Weafer, 36, was killed by a large, male black bear at the Suncor oilsands site north of Fort McMurray.
A few weeks later, Etienne Cardinal, a Parks Canada wildlife conflict specialist, survived being attacked by a grizzly bear while riding his bike near Jasper. A grizzly bear also charged at a woman's car in Jasper.
Two men jogging on trails near Fort McMurray also received a scare when a black bear followed them several minutes.
Danish tourists also had a run in with a bear near Canmore in July.