Williams Lake woman survives grizzly bear encounter

Williams Lake woman survives grizzly bear encounter

A conservation officer says River and her boyfriend Evan

A young woman from Williams Lake is recovering in hospital after being bitten on the arm by a grizzly bear last Friday.

The victim and a friend were hiking in a remote alpine in the Big Mountain Slide area southeast of Horsefly when the surprise encounter with the bear occurred in a thickly treed area during strong winds, said Sgt. Len Butler of the Conservation Officer Service (COS).

“The bear bluff charged and stopped in front of the two,” Butler said. “As the female went to get her bear spray the bear bit her arm, somewhat tossed her to the side, and ran off.”

The woman underwent surgery for a broken arm, but otherwise is in good spirits recovering, Butler said.

The COS office never received a call on the RAPP line about the incident, but learned about it through Facebook.

Once the COS predator team verified the attack and location, an officer contacted the woman and man at the hospital in person to get further details.

“Both of them were very concerned and hoped we wouldn’t have to destroy the bear, which we didn’t,” Butler said, noting when three conservation officers hiked about two hours to the site Saturday to investigate, they found no sign of the bear.

“When we identified the site of the attack we considered it more of a surprise encounter between the bear and the two people,” Butler said. “They reacted, the bear reacted, and the bear got out of there.”

Butler said when there is a bear attack officers must investigate to make sure there aren’t any safety issues to the public.

He also stressed the importance of reporting human/wildlife encounters.

From the man’s description, the grizzly was estimated to be about three years old.