Survival Animal Attacks

B.C. Black Bear Hunter Hospitalized After Killing a Grizzly in Self Defense

Officials say the hunter and his dad were tracking a bear with dogs when the attack occurred and he sustained “serious injuries”
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A grizzly bear in the woods near Elkford, BC.
The attack occurred on a mountainside south of Elkford, British Columbia. Photo by Province of British Columbia

A black bear hunter remains hospitalized after being attacked by a grizzly bear in the mountains of British Columbia on Thursday. The 36-year-old hunter shot and killed the bear but not before he sustained multiple serious injuries, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was airlifted from the area after his father, who was hunting with him when the attack occurred, called for help. The attack remains under investigation by the British Columbia Conservation Office, and the agency did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In a press release, the RCMP explained that the father and son “had been tracking a bear with dogs” when the adult grizzly suddenly attacked the son. The two men were hunting on a steep mountainside south of Elkford, which lies in the Canadian Rockies just west of the Alberta border. Both men were locals, according to the RCMP, and the son lives in nearby Sparwood. “The man suffered serious injuries,” the RCMP said, “including broken bones and lacerations to his body during the attack.”

At some point during the attack, the son was able to shoot the bear with the firearm he was carrying. Neither the RCMP nor the BCCOS have shared any details about the firearm used, but it was likely the same rifle or shotgun he would have been using to hunt black bears; Canada has strict laws prohibiting hunters from carrying handguns unless they have a special license or explicit permission from the government.

The BCCOS explained in a Facebook post that conservation officers eventually found a dead grizzly bear in the area after an extensive search. They are confident it was the same bear involved in the attack and said “the bear succumbed to its wounds.”

Related: ‘I’m About to Be Killed.’ Dog Defends Canadian Hiker from Charging Grizzly Bear

Although grizzly bear hunting has been banned in the province since 2017, B.C.’s black bear season is currently open, and regulations allow the use of unleashed dogs to hunt black bears. It’s unclear if the dogs were unknowingly tracking a bear that turned out to be a grizzly instead of a black bear, or if they were pursuing a black bear when the grizzly bear attacked.

Grizzly Bear Attack | A team of Conservation Officers responded to a report of a bear attack near Elkford on Thursday…

Posted by Conservation Officer Service on Friday, May 17, 2024

The RCMP coordinated with the BCCOS and other agencies to rescue the hunter around 3 p.m. on Thursday. Search-and-rescue personnel transported the victim more than 650 feet down the mountainside, where he was lifted into a helicopter with a long line and then taken to Calgary Foothills Hospital for treatment.

Officials say the hunter was in stable condition when he was airlifted on Thursday. A spokesperson with the B.C. government told reporters on Sunday that the man had been transported to another hospital but did not provide any updates on his status.

The May 16 grizzly attack came just six days after another grizzly attack occurred in Squamish, B.C. Officials concluded that the non-fatal attack was “defensive in nature” because the grizzly had cubs nearby, and they chose not to capture or kill the bear.

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On Sunday, another serious bear attack was reported in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, which lies more than 600 miles south Elkford. Details are slim, but Jackson Hole News and Guide reports that the victim was medevacked around 6:30 p.m. The park’s chief of staff Jeremy Barnum told the local news outlet that the attack is still being investigated, and that officials don’t yet know whether it was a grizzly bear or a black bear.