The Conservation Office Service is reminding the public to be bear aware especially in the Puntzi Lake area following a bear attack on a mushroom picker last week.
Inspector for the Thompson-Cariboo Conservation Office Service, Len Butler says they’re seeing more bears in the area due to more mushroom pickers and forestry workers having camps that are not as clean as they should be.
“Naturally there’s a good population of generally black bears but with a few grizzlies and of course they find easy meals with coolers and the garbage that’s left behind. So in a case like this, since we’ve had that burn out in the Puntzi Lake area last year now the mushroom pickers have moved in with large camps so it’s a easy picking for the bears.”
Butler says a bear that been getting into trouble before it attacked a mushroom picker Friday had to be destroyed.
“Public safety’s number one. If the bear had just basically come in you know just a quick bite on the left it might have been a different out come, but unfortunately this bear did hang around and just kept foraging and looking for more food and following people around, so you know it’s a recipe for disaster.”
The mushroom picker was released from Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake after sustaining two bite wounds on his leg.
He tried to stab the young bear that was described as a grizzly and having followed him for quite sometime before the quick attack, repeatedly with a pair of scissors.
“In this case it was unfortunate because he probably could have avoided this situation if he would have been able to deploy bear spray, but he didn’t have any with him,” says Butler who recommends anyone working in the backcountry to carry bear spray with them.