A Haines Junction man escaped serious injury after a tangle with a black bear on May 31.
At about 8:30 a.m., in a subdivision about 10 kilometres outside the Junction, the man’s four “good-sized” dogs began chasing and barking at an adult black bear, said conservation officer Kris Gustafson.
But the bear wouldn’t leave. Instead, it began circling the residence, coming within a few feet of the resident, said Gustafson.
The man threw a few rocks at the bear, missing it, but the bear kept approaching in an aggressive manner, said Gustafson.
With only about a metre between them, the man picked up a claim post – a four-by-four wide, six-foot long piece of lumber – and threw it at the bear. He hit it on the head.
That gave the man enough time to turn and open his door. But the bear swatted him before he managed to get inside, leaving two large slashes on the back of the man’s right thigh.
The scratches were not serious, said Gustafson, adding that the man was later treated at the community’s nursing station.
Luckily, the bear didn’t continue its pursuit. The man’s four dogs continued to harass the bear, and it eventually left the property.
Conservation officers set a trap for the bear on Thursday afternoon and warned all of the nearby residents about what happened, said Gustafson.
The following morning, the bear hadn’t returned, so conservation officers took down the trap.
It remains a mystery why the bear acted the way it did.
“Normally what’s involved is people poorly handling an attractant and the bear comes in to get food,” said Gustafson.
That usually means garbage or drying food and meat.
“There’s nothing in this case to suggest that that’s what’s going on here. The person didn’t have attractant on his property. He’s a long-time rural resident, used to living in concert with bears and there wasn’t a whole bunch of attract for the bears to come in.”
The sex of the bear wasn’t determined. No cubs were seen.
It’s also unclear why the man’s dogs were able to eventually scare the bear away, but were unsuccessful at doing so at the onset.
“Bears are individuals, and I guess maybe it didn’t choose to leave at that particular time,” said Gustafson. “Some bears aren’t afraid of dogs. Most are. Most of them will run, but some bears will turn around and take after the dogs as well.
“It’s kind of like people. If you’re walking down a back alley and somebody jumps out, some people will scream and faint, some people will fight back, some people will run. Bears have a bit of personality sometimes too, and maybe he figured a few dogs just weren’t enough to deter him from what he wanted to do.”
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