The swift response to a problem bear last week has a Williams Lake area livestock owner singing the praises of a local predator control operator.
“He was amazing,” said Fox Mountain resident Henry Wenger of Kyle Lay, owner of Layser’s Kennel and Contracting. “It’s an option that every livestock owner should know about. He’s extremely good at catching these predators.”
After Wenger found the remains of five killed lambs on his Fox Mountain property, his neighbour encouraged him to call the company.
Wenger said within an hour Lay arrived at the property and verified the kill, which means he identified the size of the animal by its tracks and the skidding.
Wenger said Lay then skinned the remaining carcasses and determined it was actually a bear that had attacked and killed the lambs, due to the bruising and bite marks.
Lay set a leg-hold snare, and told Wenger the bear would be in it the next morning.
“I thought, this is a tall tale, but that bear was there the next morning in the snare,” Wenger said.
Lay returned the next day to shoot the trapped 200-pound black bear.
Wenger said about two weeks earlier he had seen a bear trying to get into the barn where his 65 sheep are housed.
“Our dog heard him and when he went after the bear it took off.”
A few days later, he saw bear tracks in the yard heading toward the bush.
He didn’t see or hear the bear again, until one morning he woke up to the sound of one of the yews bawling for her one and only baby lamb.
“We counted the sheep and discovered five were missing,” Wenger said. “My dog and I went into the bush about 70 metres from the barn and found two lambs with their heads and back ends chewed off.”
Cougars and bears typically kill an animal and drag it, but following drag marks can be very dangerous, Lay warned.
“If people find an animal goes missing and they find a drag mark going into a wood area it’s very possible the offending predator may or could be waiting at the kill to protect it.”
He encourages people to contact predator control immediately and someone like him will come as soon as possible.
The Wengers have lived on Fox Mountain since 1981 and have been raising sheep for 12 years.
They’ve had sheep killed by a cougar two times, but this was the first time they’d had any bear problems.
“I’ve seen bears on our property, but they usually go on right past, not even noticing the sheep,” Wenger explained.
He does not think his dog would have picked up the bear’s scent because its eating area was northwest of the barn and the wind blows southeast.
Normally Wenger worries more about coyotes and domestic dogs harassing the sheep.
He has fencing with an electric line across the top, although he hadn’t turned the electricity on during the time when the bear got the sheep.
Lay can be reached at 250-305-6269 (cell) or 250-296-3246 (home).
Human-wildife conflicts can also be reported to the Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.