Usually when we read about bear attacks anywhere in Canada, it’s because an inebriated individual stepped out of bounds and behaved in a way that invited disaster.
And as we’ve all seen, this gives bears an undeserved bad reputation. So it’s nice to read a story where, according to the authorities, the individuals involved did everything right.
Brian Braconnier and Keith Farkas, both of Fernie, B.C., are both recovering from non-life-threatening injuries after being attacked by a grizzly bear near the top of Mount Proctor in the province’s Kootenay region last week.
While scouting a location for an upcoming deer hunt, they found themselves caught between a mother grizzly and her cub in a spot they’d visited hundreds of times. The surprised grizzly came upon them suddenly, swiping four times at Braconnier and swinging him through the air by his arm. He sprayed the grizzly with bear spray, and it turned its attention to Farkas, who was trying to load his shotgun, which was unloaded in accordance with park rules.
Farkas managed to shoot the bear without killing it, but the bear continued to claw at him before losing interest.
“The most terrifying part was I was so vulnerable, head down hill, feet up,” he told the CBC. “I was screaming. Her face was no more than a foot from my boot. And she turned around and left.”
“These gentlemen did nothing wrong, nor did the bear—it was just wrong place, wrong time,” conservation officer Joe Caravetta said.
Authorities searched for the bear but were unable to find it. They believe that it is still alive, and they plan to let it be.