Cranbrook man recuperating after grizzly attack

A grizzly bear attack that occurred Tuesday night has left a man with non-life-threatening injuries.

Arne Petryshen

A grizzly bear attack that occurred Tuesday night has left a man with non-life-threatening injuries.

Chad Dueck, of Cranbrook who is recuperating in Foothills Hospital in Calgary, described the encounter and subsequent injuries, on social media on Wednesday afternoon.

Dueck, who had been bow hunting elk, was airlifted out of Cranbrook late Tuesday night.

Conservation Officer Joe Caravetta said the individual was bow hunting and was confronted by a sow grizzly bear with two cubs.

He said the attack occurred across from the Pritchard Road area, near the city’s spray irrigation fields.

“He was injured by the bear,” he said. The bear then retreated. “Then the hunter was able to get out and get to a hospital.”

Late Wednesday, Caravetta confirmed that they had located the site where the attack occurred and found several personal items of the hunter.

“We also were able to ascertain in our opinion that the grizzly sow was not fatally wounded,” he said.

Conservation officers had initially thought the hunter had wounded the bear, it appears that is not the case.

“We believe that the bow hunter missed the bear,” he said. “We found all the arrows and nothing indicates that the bear was injured.”

Caravetta said a helicopter has surveyed the area and not located any of the bears.

“We believe they have left the area,” he said. “We are not proceeding with any further action to locate the bears and we do not feel that they are a public safety threat.”

Caravetta said the hunter did nothing wrong in the situation, and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“We’re still doing some ground verification on some other things, we’re not sure if there was some previous hunting that occurred that morning that may  have brought the grizzly bear in there,” he said, clarifying that a kill from another hunter earlier in the day may have attracted the grizzlies to the area.

“We got an inclination from the helicopter flight that there may be something like that that may have occurred,” he said. “So we’re doing some further investigation into that.”

Caravetta said it the attack is being looked as a defensive one, rather than a predatory attack. It occurred in the timbered area near between the field and the river.

Caravetta noted there were four conservation officers specialized in predator attacks there assessing the situation. Two of the officers are from this area and two drove down last night.

He said the recent drought has prompted bears to search out food and come closer to communities.

“B.C. getting numerous calls on bear sightings certainly relates to the fact that it was very hot, and a very poor berry crop, as a result bears are moving further distances to locate food as they get prepared for hibernation in the next two months,” he said. That is not just grizzly bears, but black bears as well.

Caravetta said, with the reduced natural food source out there, they are asking the public to be extremely diligent when out in the bush. He said it’s also important to be diligent on things that could be attractants to bears, such as fruit trees, barbecues and garbage.

“And just to be extra diligent in taking care that those attractants aren’t available to bears,” he said.

If you encounter a bear, call the RAPP line as soon as possible at 1-877-952-7277 to report it.