Bears shot in West Bench

Two bears are dead after conservation officers were called to a report of an aggressive bruin in West Bench Wednesday afternoon.

  • Sep. 29, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Two bears are dead after conservation officers were called to a report of an aggressive bruin in West Bench Wednesday afternoon.

A construction worker had been outside on site at a West Bench home around 1 p.m. when he heard something on the property that piqued his curiosity.

“He heard a noise in the bush and thought it was a deer,” conservation officer Bob Hamilton said. “He walked over to the bush, and a bear came charging out of the bush.”

Taken aback, the worker backed away and noticed the large black bear lunge four times at him.

“The person who was reporting it, they were quite shaken,” Hamilton said, noting police were called to the area. “When the officers arrived, the bears were up a tree.”

The bear was a large sow, and Hamilton said she had a yearling in tow — which struck the conservation officials as odd, as the cub should have been on its own by now.

He said another conservation officer was called in to assist, as the decision had to be made to destroy the bears given the proximity of West Bench Elementary. The bears were killed without incident.

Hamilton said this isn’t the first time the B.C. Conservation Service had to attend West Bench.

“There have been problem bears in that particular area for many years. We’ve dealt with bears there on several occasions,” he said.

Although there was no fruit trees on site, he said that the dense brush and shrubs provided the bear family shelter for their midday rest.

Generally, though, Hamilton said the service becomes busier in fall, as the bounty of the harvest lures bruins to town.

“This is the time of the year when we’re busiest with problem bears. The fruit is ripe and overripe, which draws the bears down from the hills. They’re in a last-ditch effort to fatten up for the winter, so they’re eating machines right now,” he said.