Hunter recovering following grizzly attack

Damage not as extensive as doctors originally thought, according to family member, however, it will be a long road to recovery.

There is good news coming out of Calgary regarding the grizzly mauling of a local man.

Chad Dueck is out of surgery and is expected to be discharged within the next few days where he will return home to Cranbrook.

Chad, a local bow hunter who was elk hunting on Tuesday night, was attacked by a grizzly bear with cubs out near Pritchard Road.

Chad was with a friend in separate areas, however, the friend heard the cries for help during the mauling and was able to get him to the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. From there, he was airlifted to Calgary.

He sustained serious bite wounds to his cheek, neck, right bicep, and buttocks, and also suffered deep flesh wounds, minor nerve damage in the face—not to mention a body full of claw marks and the trauma of the fight.

All that being said, doctors have concluded that his injuries aren’t as extensive as they first thought, according to a family member.

“The surgeons were very pleased to say that the damage was not as extensive as they originally thought,” said Christie Dueck. “So the road to recovery, although it may be long, it won’t be as arduous as they had anticipated.

“He is completely stitched up now and they’re expecting to discharge him over the next couple of days.”

Chad Dueck is recovering after surgery at a hospital in Calgary following a grizzly mauling earlier this week.

There has been an outpouring of support to the family in the form of phone calls, Facebook messages and through a GoFundMe page which is collecting donations to ease the financial burden during his recovery.

“He has a very extensive network of friends from the backcountry and the hunting community of all ages,” said Christie. “…It’s the love of the backcountry that has brought them together, so he’s had a lot of support from his hunting buddies.”

Christie noted that the incident has struck a chord within Chad’s hunting community.

“This has hit home for his hunting buddies and they’re changing the way that they hunt,” she said. “They’re now talking about sight-to-sight—we may be in the same area, we need to be able to see each other now—it’s not just enough that we’re in the same area, there needs to be a closeness.

“It’s really shaken his community of hunters up and they’re just seriously looking at what they can do to keep each other safe and to have each other’s back.”

Chad was out for an evening elk hunt with a friend, driving in separate vehicles, near the city spray irrigation fields on the night of the incident.

Conservation officers have noted that the grizzly attack was defensive in nature and have not been able to locate the sow and cubs since the incident.

Initial reports indicated that Chad may have hit the bear with an arrow, but that is not the case, according to Joe Caravetta, a conservation officer who spoke to the Daily Townsman on Wednesday.

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

Christie noted Chad and his friend were hunting together, but they were not within eyesight of each other’s positions.

“They had their own blinds and they were in their own area, so they did not have line-of-sight with each other,” she said, “but they were definitely in the same area, so that when he was calling for help, his friend did hear him and that’s how he was rescued out of there.”

Elk season for archery hunters in select management units across the East Kootenay opened on Sept. 1st.