Another bearish week:

I got a call about a fellow who was charged by a black bear on the TR Point trail system. He was out walking with his dog who was off the lead and the dog went off to do what dogs do best: really annoy a bear and bring it charging back to master. This is not an uncommon scenario and our ?best friends? have frequently been the precipitating factors in bear attacks. In this case, the bear bluff charged and then took off down the hill. Whew!

I was studying a case the other day about a fellow and his dog in the same situation: the dog was a die hard coward and always came scurrying back to daddy in case of trouble. First the man encountered a female moose all riled up by his four legged friend but later that day, when a mature, furious sow grizzly came back after the dog, the poor guy was mauled quite badly. Luckily, his little cowardly dog found his long forgotten killer instinct gene, chomped into the caboose of the grizzly train and did his best to save daddy. Both dog and master lived to tell the tale but master doesn?t go out with out a lead anymore.

That?s the moral of the story: your dog should always be on a lead. Your dog?s eyes and ears are great to help you stay out of the way of bears but if they are left to run, they can bring allot of furry trouble your way.

With all the excitement last week regarding the black bear popping up all over town, I think it?s a good idea to review what everyone can do to avoid attracting bears to the area:

ATTRACTANTS: Garbage cans (full and/or left out over night) Pet Food, Feeders/bird feeders/humming bird feeders; Smokers; Compost Piles; Fruit Trees and bushes; Dirty BBQ Grills; Beehives; Petroleum products; Nut-bearing trees and shrubs

It?s quite normal that we see bears pass through from time to time but if we manage our domestic attractants, the bear will just keep on going. They have to eat allot to get ready for hibernation (the equivalent of 60 hamburgers a day) so they won?t spend time in an area where they don?t find what they?re looking for. By next month, they will already be thinking of fattening up for winter so they?ll be looking for whatever they can find.

If they get a taste of the high-calorie, easily attainable food source which is our garbage, our beautiful wild bear can turn into a garbage junkie in as little as a few days and seek nothing else.

Human habituated, food conditioned bears are on a type of death row. They can often become aggressive or dangerous and, as it is virtually impossible to rehabilitate a bear like this, the bear will be destroyed.

The residents of another BC city were furious at the local conservation officers for having killed numerous bears in a season. The senior officer stood up at the meeting and angrily turned the tables: ?you people created the problem? he said ?we just pulled the trigger.? You can?t leave out attractants and expect a bear not to take advantage; so the tragedy begins.

On the bright side, this is really easily avoidable if we manage our attractants, learn about our furry neighbours and stay bear aware.

If you have questions about managing any of these domestic attractants, just call me: 242 0004.

?Till next week, bear with me!

Editor?s Note:

There is also a Bear Aware program being offered at Northern Lights College in Tumbler Ridge. The course is a one day classroom session, structured around WCB standards and is a certification course. The course includes the most up-to-date information on using pepper sprays and firearms. The instructor is Lyle Morrison, Land Resources

Management in Dawson Creek.