Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bear attack on a boat

Though bear attacks always make the news it is actually a rare thing and this story out of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island in the Vancouver Province today tells of a man mauled on his boat. The bear, of course didn't make it and was apparently in poor health. The victim is recovering in hospital.

When wildlife like that, be it a cougar or a bear, attacks humans that you find out that the animal is sick. And it is that time of year when the pickings for food up in the hills grows more scarce. There is no doubt a dearth of berries for them as it has been a lousy summer and so, opportunities that bears are will go where the easiest source of food is as we humans are so piggish.

And speaking of bears,
Peaches, is still hanging around at my folks too. Dad has put up an electric fence around the garden to keep him from the peach and apple trees. Really, it may not be the same Peaches who raided the tree last year but that's what we're callin' him anyway.


rob said...

I know that your Mum and Dad are used to living with bears so I won`t say make sure that they take care! I also know that you don`t have to copy this on to your blog if you don`t want to so I will recount one of my many encounters with bears (who being captive have no fear whatsoever of humans) On this particular day I was the safety gun for the usual annual blood sampling and medical examination of one of out Adult Polar bears, I darted the bear beautifully in the thigh and he was showing signs of going down, we had already drained their pool as they would nearly always ended up in it, as they passed out, and we didnt want that. The pool was concrete and had steps formed into the twenty foot sloping walls for access for cleaning etc and low and behold the bear was making for them and slid down into the small amount of water left at the bottom. fortunately he was lying on his back and in no risk of drowning. I asked a keeper to get a rope so that we could get out again and duly slid down into the pool bottom, followed by the vet who was to do the medical examination. I was just there with an old 4.55 revolver to protect the vet in the eventuality that the drugs were of the wrong amount and OK for an alsation dog and maybe not a polar bear :o)) the vet cautiously approached the bear with a stick and to make sure that he was well "under" he tapped him on the nose to see if the eyes blinked (as the eye lids never closed) to which the bear immediately sat up and regained his composure. as the bear was covering the steps out the vet climbed over me and was grabbed by the keepers on the pool perifery, so now it was just me and the bear. No rope was in evidence (as I had asked for) and the pear was slowly but surely making his way towards me. I didn`t want to have to shoot him ( or was so terrified that I couldnt have) so I stepped backwards and after two steps he fell on his face and finally the drug got the better of him. An apologetic vet also regained composure and duly joined me, back by the side of the bear and did his thing. Two things I learned from this was that no matter how many times I was trained to use the dart gun and its various mixtures of drugs by weight it was only ever a guestimate and great care must always be taken before exposing ones-self to a damgerous animal and also just how big a male Polar bear is when you can smell his breath and see just how big his feet are (like small dustbin lids) when he is that close. Oh yes I have stood close to him as a cub (about the size of a small shetland pony) and whilst he was growing up, but with no phisical barrier in between they suddenly take on a new size, I also learnt once again just how fragile life is, both mine and his as too much drug could have killed him too. I don`t like having those sort of large land animals in captivity, but do worry as to where they will go and they could definitely not be released into the wild as they have relied on humans for their survival so far and would be shot or kill someone immediately they were released, so sad! they went to a zoo in germany to a much larger enclosure and I believe that they spent their days there.

bowiechick said...

That is a hell of a bear story Rob. Polar bears are one thing compared to a black bear and the former are known to be the one animal that will stalk a man.

Here is my mother's bear story. It is a major story in the family lore.

Back in 1966 or so, when my brother was about two I believe, there were black/brown bears hanging around the yard. My parents, concerned for their toddler's welfare, called the Fish and Game warden to come and deal with it. His answer, (it was the mid-sixties and this was up in the wild BC mountains), was to "just shoot it yourself."

Now, unlike other members in my extended family, my father is and never has been a hunter. We never had a gun in the house, but my uncle Albert, who was married to my Dad's sister Irene, was. Mum borrowed his rifle and she and my uncle set about for some target practice to which point she (or they) finally felt comfortable to bring THAT into their home.

So one morning they heard Bear Bruin knocking over the incinerator and she got up, opened the window quietly and lobbed off two (or three) shots and down it fell. She nabbed it on the first shot, right behind the ear. Dad lobbed off a shot before it actually hit the dirt but missed it by a mile.

Now my mother is Australian born, and grew up in Sydney and came to Canada as an RN and eventually hooked up and married my Dad. She had done some target practice back in Oz, but other than that not much experience.

Her "kill" made the front page of the Nelson Daily News, a community some 66-km from Kaslo. "NURSE FALLS BEAR ON ONE SHOT", read the headline. She got her seven seconds of fame and her name in the paper.

They buried the carcass in the front yard and saved the hide to have it tanned and mounted and sent it to a taxidermist over in Oliver that is still in business to this day.

But there is more, as they failed to tell of the second bear. That one, Dad shot. Though the coat wasn't as nice as the first bear, they decided to have that tanned also and send it as a gift to her parents back in Oz.

But instead of burying this carcass Dad decided to take it out to this bluff just north of the village and leave it for the ravens and other carrion to have at it.
Unfortunately it ended up falling down the rocks, and several hundred feet into the lake below. It eventually washed up on the public beach. Well, I guess a skinless bear looks somewhat like "a people" as my dad said and it freaked out some kid swimming on the beach. Probably traumatized the kid for life!

So, guess who came knocking?

"Oh no officer, that carcass is buried in the yard. Shall I dig it up for you?"

And that was that and never a bear was ever shot in their yard again. Bear Bruin hung in the living room for years until the paneling behind got so faded and now lives downstairs in the Rumpus Room. It has deteriorated much over time but I don't think anyone has the heart to throw it out for it has too much provenance within the family.

bowiechick said...

BTW, Rob, you win for scary!

cyberangel said...

Hey Tana, I was freaked out when I read that story about the bear climbing into the boat. I worked in an isolated fishing resort a few years ago, and we were surrounded by bears. I was too scared to walk in the woods when I first got there so my only escape was by kayak. One day I got quite close to a bear on shore, but was feeling quite invincible as I was sure I could out-paddle him should he decide to go for a swim. They also assured me at the resort that bears swim slow and wouldnt attack in the water....I guess they were wrong about that, Im sure glad I didnt hear this story back then, I would have never left the house.

My other bear experiance, was when I was hunting with my boyfriend years ago on Vancouver island. We saw about 7 bears one morning. Managed to shoot one of them with one shot.He fell right in his tracks and we proceeded to walk up the hill to get to him. What we didnt realize was that what looked like small bushes were actully over our head. We couldnt see him or the other bears as we made our way up to the tree line. I was crapping my pants ,picturing him wounded and mad or the other bears closing in on us. We finally made it to where we saw him fall and he wasnt there !!
I was seriously starting to regret this adventure, when we finally spotted him, he had rolled down the hill and was some yards from where we thought he would be. When we got up to him, my Boyfriend asked me to kick the bear to see if it was indeed dead. That was the scariest moment of my life. He asked me to do it again and I said "no way". your turn!. Well he was dead and we dragged him down the mountain, gutted him and loaded him onto the truck. His hide was skinned and turned into a rug, the meat was butchered and eaten. I only found out years later that bears can run extremely fast and for miles at a time. What an innocent I was, If I had only known, I would never have left the truck.

Its sad that so many bears have had to come into town this year and be slaughted because they were starving.

rob said...

A lovely story Tana thanks for sharing it with me.:o)) , have a really great day.