Two hikers were surprised by a bear Sunday afternoon while hiking near Squamish.
The Conservation Officer Service says the unprovoked attack happened in the Merrill Park area. The hikers, a man and a woman, came upon a sow and her cub. Officers say the sow charged the couple as soon as she saw them and officials believe she was protecting her cub. The man received some scratches, not considered to be serious, and the woman was not hurt.
A Facebook post by Buzz Henczel describes the incident as happening behind St. Joseph’s Church. He says the mother bear charged at them as soon as they came upon her cub.
“The next thing I knew her head was right beside my waist, which was very surreal, she then threw the fastest, most powerful left hook I have ever seen raking her claws across my right calf,” writes Henczel.
He says when this happened, their wilderness training kicked in and he and his companion made themselves look as big as they could with their arms in the air. “We yelled and swore at her like two very angry drill sergeants. She was genuinely surprised by our actions. She thought about her options for a moment, and as we moved towards her, she thankfully turned and ran back into the bushes.”
Conservation officers have set up traps in the area, and access to the trails and Merrill Park have been temporarily closed until further notice.
Officials are reminding everyone that bears are out and active in the region.