Grizzly bear sightings reported in Elkford

Monday July 25.  Grizzly bear sightings have been reported in Elkford on Bickford drive, DeerBourne, Caribou Drive and by the golf course the last few days.  Please ensure that all garbage  is kept in a garage or indoors between collection days and that other  bear attractants are secured.

Thank you for reporting human/wildlife conflict to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line

1-877-952-7277.

To share wildlife sightings with other trail users please post or message on the WildSafeBC Elk Valley Facebook page or email fernie@wildsafebc.com

 

Spawood grizzly sherry

A trail runner tells us what happened when he screamed and ran from a bear on a Fernie trail.

Do you know what to do if you have a close encounter with a bear? Here is Tom Covenay’s account of what happened when he screamed and ran from a bear a few weeks ago while out on a run on a trail in the Elk Valley. Thank you Tom for sharing your story.

“Well I’m struggling to sleep so I thought I’d write it out in full. Yesterday evening I set out to do a quick 5km run on the cross country ski trails at the Fernie Alpine Resort. So I ran from our hotel over to the start of the trails, I didn’t have best feeling about it from start.

Anyways I set off down the trail, I’m generally very aware of bears so I was shouting and making lots of noise from the off. I had gone at most 600m (could still some of the condo buildings) and was heading uphill when I heard crashing behind me. I turned and a black bear was charging me, when I first saw it was about 10m away but got to within 1m.

I didn’t have time to react other than to start screaming at it. We circled each other for a minute or so, me shouting and trying to look as big as possible. The bear was not so much being aggressive more curious; it didn’t stomp or make any sounds. In somewhat pure panic i threw my jacket at him, he was somewhat interested in it. I was able to start backing off and probably made it 200m back down the trail. I then really screwed up; I couldn’t see the bear so I started to run.

I probably made it another 200m (could see the parking lot through the trees) when I turned and saw the bear chasing after me. I’ve heard stories about how fast they are but nothing prepared me for the reality. It was probably the most awe inspiring/utterly terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.

The bear caught up with me blocking my escape. We had another standoff; he blocked my escape and forced me back up the trail. At times he probably got to within 2 feet of me, I was close to trying to punch it as a last resort.

At this point he backed off a little and I was able to call 911. I spoke with dispatch for the entire rest of the encounter. The bear forced me back almost to where I had first seen him. He stood on his hind legs watching me from about 100m away and then took off back down the trail to the parking lot. My only thought was what do I do now, my escape was blocked and I had no idea where the bear was!!

Dispatch advised I stayed where I was, for the next 5 mins or so there was no sign of the bear. I found some rocks and a small branch, at least it was something to fight back with. Out of nowhere the bear came crashing through the forest on my left on an old quad trail. We circled each other I was screaming and throwing what rocks I had. I managed to work my way round so i was down trail of him.

For the next couple of minutes I slowly walked backwards constantly watching him. After a 100m or so I turned a bend in the trail and lost sight of him. I was then able to walk back to the parking lot, once there I ran as fast as I could to the nearest hotel where I ran into the RCMP and a conservation officer.

I went back up the trail with the conservation officer (armed with a rifle) to the spot. I snapped the below photo of where it went down and got my jacket (intact). We found tracks and signs he had been foraging under rocks when I disturbed him on the side of the trail. CO estimated it to be a 2 – 3 year old male black bear.

What’s really kept me awake tonight is what I did wrong. If this maybe helps someone down the line then that would be awesome.

  1. Trust your gut – I really didn’t have a good feeling about my choice of route. I almost bailed and ran on the road.
  2. Bear spray – if you are in bear country always take bear spray with you. I always do, except this time.
  3. Expect the unexpected. I’ve spent the last 4 years climbing mountains, running crazy trail races, exploring the back country and have never had a problem with bears. Of course the night I choose to go run a crappy x country ski trail is the night I run into a bear.
  4. Don’t ever run- this was the dumbest thing I did. They are so fast. The sight of the bear running me down is something that will live with me forever.
  5. Make noise- I thought I was making lots of noise bit it clearly wasn’t enough. I think i did job of making use of what i had at the time. He really didn’t like the screaming and the rock throwing. Having my phone and being in cell service was a huge plus.

I don’t think the bear was necessarily being aggressive. I completely surprised him and from then on it was a game. According to the CO they will try and trap him and move him on elsewhere.

All in all it was a terrifying yet completely humbling experience. I have to feel that as we humans continue to expand, these animals will be pushed into an increasingly smaller pocket and encounters like this will become more regular.”

For information on how to stay safe in bear country go to www.wildsafebc.combear in tree smaller

 

Dumping of builiding scraps and garbage on Montane acess road

Building scraps and garbage are being dumped by the new Montane development access road.  Bears have been reported on the Montane trails recently, it’s a matter of time before they follow their nose to this dumping site by a new development and the Fernie Mobile Home Park.  Please report violators to the bylaw officer on 250-423-6817 and the Conservation Officer Reporting line on 1-877-952-7277.montane garbage

Large Cinamon Bear on Montane Trail in Fernie

Tuesday June 28.

A large light brown colored black bear (could easily be mistaken for a grizzly) has been seen throughout Montane trail the last few days.  Keeping safe while travelling in bear country is simple, hike or ride with others, talk or sing to let bears know of your presence, carry bear spray and know how to use it.  Never approach or feed a bear and never run from bears.  Remember, the best bear encounter is the one you avoid.

As the Elk Valley continues to grow and develop with more people living and recreating in bear country, so does the need for education.  Over 130 front line staff from Island Lake Lodge, Fernie Alpine Resort and the Raging Elk Hostel have learned the basics of preventing encounters with wildlife and how to safely use bear spray.  Thanks for passing on your knowledge to our visitors.

To learn more about staying safe in bear country drop by our display in Fernie at Canada Day and July 2nd at WildCat Days in Elkford.  On July 3rd WildSafeBC will be doing a short session on wildlife safety and use of bear spray at the Role and Sole event in Fernie and then with the Fernie Flyers children’s mountain bike camp.

To report wildlife in conflict call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line on 1-877-952-7277

To learn more visit www.wildsafebc.comraging elk bear safety

Grizzly bear sightings on Lazy Lizard in Fernie

Friday June 24.  Grizzly bear sightings have been reported the last few days on the popular Lazy Lizard trail in Mont Fernie Provincial Park.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

 Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your   human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)

  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control
  • carry bear spray, have it accessible, know how to use it

     If you encounter a Bear:

STAY CALM

  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

Thank you for reporting human/wildlife conflict to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line

1-877-952-7277.

To share wildlife sightings with other trail users please post or message on the WildSafeBC Elk Valley Facebook page or email fernie@wildsafebc.com

Spawood grizzly sherry

 

Bear and Moose Sightings on Elk Valley Trails

Tuesday June 21.  bear in tree smallerAs trail use continues to increase as does the potential for human/wildlife encounters. The Elk Valley is prime wildlife habitat so be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.

Fernie

Bear sightings reported on Canyon trail and at the top of Swine Flu. Moose sightings reported on Montane trail. Reports of female moose with calves charging at off leash dogs in West Fernie and Mt Fernie Provincial Park. Dog owners, remember that dogs chasing wildlife may provoke defensive behaviour.

Elkford

Grizzly bear sightings were reported by the Josephine Falls trailhead car park last week.

Wildlife Safety Top Tips

Make noise to warn wildlife of your presence, watch for fresh signs of wildlife activity, travel in groups in daylight, do not litter and carry bear spray and know how to use it. If you meet a bear, back away slowly and leave. Do not run. Give the bear space to escape. Never feed or approach wildlife.

Thank you for reporting human/wildlife conflict to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line

1-877-952-7277.

To share wildlife sightings with other trail users please post or message on the WildSafeBC Elk Valley Facebook page or email fernie@wildsafebc.com

 

 

Grizzly bear sighings reported by Josephine Falls parking lot in Elkford

Thursday June 16.  Grizzly bears have been reported by the Josephine Falls parking lot in Elkford.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

 Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your   human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)

  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control

     If you encounter a Bear:

STAY CALM

  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277(RAPP) or #7277 on cell.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict visit www.wildsafebc.comSpawood grizzly sherry