While there have been several minor conflicts between bears and residents this year, there had yet to be a report of an actual attack. Until late last month.
One visiting tourist, a 47 year-old male from Calgary, was injured when a young male black bear attacked him, apparently drawn by the smell of food to a rental property near Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
The incident happened in the evening of Oct. 24.
“They had just made a potato salad and they were letting it cool. So it’s not like they were actively incorrectly storing garbage. They just put some food out on the deck and a bear crawled up onto the deck,” said Conservation Officer Dan Bartol.
One of the visiting tourists stepped out onto the deck and, not realizing that the bear was there, received a bite on the leg.
“Fortunately they weren’t major injuries, just a couple punctures,” Bartol said.
The bear had previously knocked over barbecues and gotten into garbage when it could. It had also made its way into one individual’s house according to a second-hand report.
The bear was deemed to be food conditioned and it was trapped and euthanized by COs.
The village near the resort isn’t usually a problem spot for bears, as the area has communal bear-proof bins.
“Usually they’re pretty good but what we’re worried about is the fact that there’s such a big rotation in renters, the educational message might not be getting out there. But we’re working with the residents’ association to come up with a little pamphlet or message so we can educate those renters that come to town for a week or a weekend,” said Conservation Officer Alexandre Desjardins.
This bear marks the fifth that has had to be euthanized this fall in Golden, an average year for Golden according to Desjardins.
Both COs remain frustrated at the lack of attractant management by locals.
“I’m very surprised by how many attractants we’re still seeing,” Bartol said.
“We’re struggling when it comes to attractant management, that’s fair to say. But we’re persistently working with the community and working with WildSafe BC to conduct attractant audits,” Desjardins said.
While winter is fast approaching, bears still haven’t fallen into hibernation just yet and COs are warning the public to be aware of that fact.
“Bears are on the cusp of hibernating right now so it’s extremely important to be vigilant,” Desjardins said, adding that managing attractants is particularly important towards the end of the season.
Bears will avoid hibernating as long as there is food available to them, according to Desjardins, with some grizzlies waiting until the early part of the winter to finally hibernate.