A mushroom picker was injured Friday

A mushroom picker was injured Friday

Mushroom picker injured in predatory bear attack in the Puntzi Lake area

A mushroom picker spent the night in hospital last weekend following a bear attack in the Puntzi Lake area Friday, May 13.

A mushroom picker spent the night in hospital last weekend following a bear attack in the Puntzi Lake area Friday, May 13.

Conservation officer Justyn Bell said he received a report at 2:45 p.m. last Friday that the 48-year-old man was injured by a bear at about noon and was being transported to hospital in Williams Lake.

Bell said the incident happened about nine kilometres up the Puntzi Lake Road, at the start of the 2015 burn where the area was being heavily utilized by mushroom pickers.

Officers attended the scene Friday night and again Saturday morning to investigate, and located the suspect bear, believed to be about a three-year-old male, blond-coloured black bear, at a nearby residence and destroyed it.

“Based on all the information we gathered we do believe the attack was predatory in nature,” Bell said.

The victim described to officers that he was bent over picking mushrooms when he noticed the bear behind him, and he turned and walked away with the bear following, and then ran away with the bear ending up very close behind him until there was a confrontation.

Bell said the bear bit the victim’s upper left thigh but let go when the victim used scissors he had in his hand to stab the bear behind his head. The bear bit the victim one more time in the ankle before retreating.

The victim was able to walk about one kilometre to a road where he flagged down help and was taken to hospital.

“He was quite shaken up, and rightfully so,” he said.

With the long weekend ahead, Bell is reminding the public to be bear aware when out in the forest, suggesting if confronted by a bear a person should provide an escape route for the animal, do not run or turn you back and make lots of noise.

For more information, visit WildsafeBC.com.

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