Timmins man describes scary encounter with aggressive bear
SUDBURY -- When Robin Roy went for a workout at the Hersey Lake Conservation Area over lunch last Friday, he spotted a couple of bears.
Not an unusual occurrence in the area, but what happened next certainly was.
"One of them I was told (later) by the ministry was the mother, just came barreling down the trail for me," Roy told CTV News.
He doesn't usually bring his backpack when biking these trails, Roy said, but decided to bring it with him on Friday.
He's glad he did.
"I managed to get it out of my pack and I had to use it three times so that I could get away," he said.
He informed Timmins Police, who alerted the public because the bear was clearly displaying aggressive behaviour.
"We (found) it necessary to alert the public," said police spokesperson Marc Despatie. "They have to use these trails at their own risk and there's certain things they should and should not be doing in the course of enjoying the trail system."
And one of those things is to not put out any feed for any animals, he added.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has set up a trap, placing it where a bird feeder once stood and checking it daily.
"Bears remember where they (got) their last meal," said ministry spokesperson Karen Passmore. "And there's always bird seed around there, as you probably know, during the winter months.
"People bringing bird seed in and around that area … is great in the wintertime for the birds. Unfortunately it means a good meal for the bears when it comes spring time."
Police in Timmins are warning the public after they received a report Friday of an aggressive bear who charged at someone three times in the Hersey Lake Conservation Area.
"In this instance, a person was approached on three occasions by an aggressive bear despite being sprayed with bear spray," the release said.
"While bears are typically have a timid disposition, the nature of this encounter necessitates a public advisory to be distributed so that those persons who venture out onto the trail system in the Hersey Lake area are aware and use the proper safety precautions."
After consulting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, police advise nature enthusiasts use other trails in the short term.
"A bear trap device has been deployed by the MNRF in the hopes of removing the aggressive bear from the area," the Timmins Police Service said in a news release Monday.
Pets being walked in this area should remain on a leash in keeping with Bear Wise guidance and the stipulations of existing Mattagami Region Conservation Authority Regulations, the release added.
If residents are out on the trails and encounter a black bear, the release said to keep in mind such encounters are surprising and stressful to the bears and they usually flee into the forest.
"If such an encounter happens, the best course of action is to simply come to a stop and remain calm," the release said. "Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave. If the bear does not leave, throw objects, wave your arms and make noise with a whistle or air horn. If you are so equipped, prepare to use bear spray."
Other tips for dealing with bear encounters:
- If you are near a building or vehicle, get inside as a precautionary measure.
- Drop any food you may be carrying and slowly move away.
- If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Leave the area. The bear will come down when it feels safe.
- It is further recommended that, if confronted by a bear that the person confronted not run, climb a tree, or take to water.
- It is further recommended that persons confronted with a bear not kneel down, make direct eye contact, or approach the bear for any purpose or attempt to feed the bear.
"Most typically non-threatening intentions such as attempting to photograph or feed the bear will be misinterpreted as threatening or menacing advances by the bear," the release said.
"The Timmins Police Service and the Mattagami Region Conservation Authority recommend that persons who indulge in hiking, cycling or walking their pets seek out the advice provided at this website to enhance their own safety."
For those persons who do not have internet access, the Timmins Police Service reminds all citizens that incidents of this nature are extremely rare and their severity can be significantly diminished by following the guidance provided by means of the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327.