Close Call Black Bear Incident

Safety Alert Type: 
Planning and Engineering
Location: 
Yeo Island, Mapsheet # 103A050-013, UTM Grid 9-5806-5600, Blk Y13. BCTS TSL A71396 is located approximately 125km west of Bella Coola and 15km north of Bella Bella. The log dump is located on the SW point of Yeo Island on Spiller Channel. Proceed 16km up the Yeo mainline to Block Y13.
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-10-14
Company Name: 
Coast Forest Management Ltd
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

9:30AM: 2 employees were conducting logging residue and waste surveys within block Y13. The crew accessed the block by helicopter from Shearwater (near Bella Bella). Both employees were working in a plot approximately 35m above the Yeo mainline at mid-block. While working, one of the employees turned and saw an extremely large black bear within 3+/- meters of himself and within 1-2+/- meters of his working partner. Both employees started yelling in an attempt to scare-off the bear. At this point, the bear realized he was very close to one of the employees and began to advance toward him. Both continued to yell but the bear kept advancing. One employee began to move uphill of the bear in an attempt to get clear but the bear continued to pursue him. The other employee moved downhill and continued to yell. This seemed to confuse the bear a little and both employees were able to put some distance between themselves and the bear. They both reached the mainline and noticed the bear had moved downhill to the road ahead of them to try to cut them off. One employee had left his vest at plot center which had the radio in the back pouch. Fortunately, there was another residue and waste crew working in the same block so the two employees began to walk/run towards the other crew. The second crew had a radio and called out on Marine 6 to relay a message to the helicopter pilot at Shearwater. At this time, all crew noticed the bear was walking up the road, advancing towards them so they all began walking/running down the mainline in a southerly direction. The bear continued to advance and followed them approximately 2km down the mainline. The crew continued to walk down the mainline and was eventually picked-up by helicopter 4km from Y13 at 11:00AM. The bear was not sighted at 4km.
The conservation officer was notified Monday, October 15th of the incidence and informed the crew (ordered) to stay out of the area until further notice.
It appears that the logging crew had several encounters with a very aggressive black bear while working in the same vicinity during logging operations (although not documented).

Learnings and Suggestions: 

-Alert any potential future forestry / recreation personnel of bear incidence.
-Contact conservation officer in Bella Bella for any updates or follow-up information to this incidence.
-Always work in pairs.
-Be aware of high risk areas.
-Be bear aware and always look for sign.
-Always carry bear spray, bells, bangers.

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Dave Riddell, Coast Forest Management Ltd, Campbell River, BC @ 250-287-2077

File attachments
2007-10-14 Close Call With Black Bear.pdf
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