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Woman sustains minor injuries in northwest B.C. bear attack

Conservation Officer Service says it was a defensive attack, warns public to be cautious
A black bear eats club cherries in southeastern Alaska. (Taal Levi, Oregon State University/Wikimedia Commons)

A woman sustained minor injuries that required some stitches after a bear attack while out with her dog near the archery club in Smithers this afternoon (Aug. 2).

Conservation officer Ron Leblanc said it was a defensive attack as the woman and her off-leash dog startled the bear.

“The bear wasn’t doing anything it shouldn’t, it was just out eating berries and salmon,” Leblanc said.

In such cases, the Conservation Officer Service (COS) does not kill or relocate bears, he said, noting that while there have been other sightings, there is no indication this 2- or 3-year-old black bear has been into any unnatural attractants or is habituated to humans.

He said the woman was OK with the decision not to destroy the bear.

“It was one four-legged animal running into another four-legged animal, the bear saw the dog as a threat and attacked,” Leblanc said.

The COS is, however, asking the public to steer clear of the area located off Tatlow Road just past the fairgrounds for a couple of days to give the bear a chance to move on.

The service also reminds people to always remain aware and cautious when out in nature as northwestern B.C. is undeniably bear country.

“I would like to emphasize when in bear territory, have your dogs on a leash and make noise to avoid startling any bears in the area,” Leblanc said. “Also, having bear spray and knowing how to use it.”

Sightings of bears or other wild animals, particularly if visiting unnatural attractants or acting aggressively should be reported to the RAPP (report all poachers and polluters) line at 1-877-952-RAPP or online at

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