‘I may hear him huffing and see the whites of his eyes,’ says Okanagan lady about her bear encounter – Abbotsford Information
Summerland resident Janice Kitson continues to be shaken after being chased by a bear whereas biking on Conkle Mountain lately.
It was a extra intimate encounter with nature than she was anticipating.
“He’s beside my again wheel and I may have put my arm round his neck, he was that shut.”
Kitson was coming down Conkle Bonk on the canyon above the rodeo grounds, at round 11 a.m. on Sept. 16, when the bear got here out of nowhere.
“I used to be having a superb trip and eager about what time I might end it in, once I heard some type of crashing within the bush to the fitting of the path, above me,” Kitson remembers.
“It’s a slim space, so I chanced a fast look behind me and noticed the bear galloping full velocity at me – I may hear him huffing and respiratory exhausting and see the whites of his eyes.”
With the bear behind her, Kitson pedalled as quick as she may, going off the path and down in direction of the canyon.
“I believe that as a result of a small tree and patch of bush got here between us, he went a bit left then ran previous me and stopped six to eight toes away,” mentioned Kitson. “I ended and was considering omg, omg he’s going to come back again.”
That’s when the massive bear stood up and snorted a lot of occasions.
Kitson stood very nonetheless beside the little tree, considering that if she may preserve the bike between her and the bear, she won’t get too mauled.
Then the darkish brown bruin turned and ran off.
Kitson tried to get again on her bike and trip away however then the severity of the incident set in.
“I needed to sit down for about quarter-hour, I used to be shaking so violently. How he didn’t hit me is a thriller to me – the way in which he got here crashing out of the bush with mud flying in all places.”
It’s been over every week since Kitson’s encounter with the bear and the scene nonetheless performs out in her thoughts.
Kitson says the identical bear was seen final week nearer to the gazebo on the north facet of the Trans Canada Path, and she or he believes she noticed the identical bear two weeks in the past.
For years, Kitson and different Summerland residents have loved the numerous trails on Conkle Mountain with out incident. There have at all times been bears there, she hasn’t heard of any aggressive ones.
In accordance with WildSafeBC, fall is when bears undergo hyperphagia (“excessive consuming”) after they require a mean of 20,000 energy per day.
A mom and cubs have been noticed close to the rodeo grounds this week too and one other bear has been noticed on the town.
One factor that makes this 12 months completely different in Kitson’s opinion, is that with COVID-19 extra individuals and canines try to get outdoors within the recent air, making the paths busier than different years.
“Bears see canines as a risk to their cubs and their meals,” mentioned BC Conservation Officer Dave Cox.
Conservation officers have been getting calls about bear sightings, however not any calls about aggressive bears.
“What occurred with that bear isn’t regular behaviour for them. It may have been that the bear was being defensive of some close by meals or that she shocked him,” Cox mentioned.
He at all times recommends calling the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 to allow them to examine and warn individuals concerning the incident or space of bear sightings.
“Calling us doesn’t essentially imply that we’re going to get that bear,” he added.
This time of 12 months, bears are drawn to all of the rotting fruit within the South Okanagan and so it isn’t uncommon to see them this time of 12 months.
“We’ve got one other month of bears after which they go away to hibernate round Halloween,” mentioned Cox.
Cox says in case you are going out mountain climbing within the mountains, it’s finest to convey bells, speak and go in teams so that you let bears know you might be there. For those who encounter a bear, speak calmly to it, don’t scream, again away and depart them an escape route if potential.
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