Bear swats Junction man
Ian Stewart/Yukon News
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 manâ€™s four â€śgood-sizedâ€ť dogs began chasing and barking at an adult black bear, said conservation officer Kris Gustafson.
But the bear wouldnâ€™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 â€“ a four-by-four wide, six-foot long piece of lumber â€“ 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 manâ€™s right thigh.
The scratches were not serious, said Gustafson, adding that the man was later treated at the communityâ€™s nursing station.
Luckily, the bear didnâ€™t continue its pursuit. The manâ€™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 hadnâ€™t returned, so conservation officers took down the trap.
It remains a mystery why the bear acted the way it did.
â€śNormally whatâ€™s involved is people poorly handling an attractant and the bear comes in to get food,â€ť said Gustafson.
That usually means garbage or drying food and meat.
â€śThereâ€™s nothing in this case to suggest that thatâ€™s whatâ€™s going on here. The person didnâ€™t have attractant on his property. Heâ€™s a long-time rural resident, used to living in concert with bears and there wasnâ€™t a whole bunch of attract for the bears to come in.â€ť
The sex of the bear wasnâ€™t determined. No cubs were seen.
Itâ€™s also unclear why the manâ€™s dogs were able to eventually scare the bear away, but were unsuccessful at doing so at the onset.
â€śBears are individuals, and I guess maybe it didnâ€™t choose to leave at that particular time,â€ť said Gustafson. â€śSome bears arenâ€™t afraid of dogs. Most are. Most of them will run, but some bears will turn around and take after the dogs as well.
â€śItâ€™s kind of like people. If youâ€™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 werenâ€™t enough to deter him from what he wanted to do.â€ť