Problem Bear, Heywood Island

dweller - August 18, 2018

There have been several reports of a problem young bear, with boats anchored at Browning Cove, Heywood Island, east of Little Current:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155482662321856&set=gm.10155448894210286&type=3&theater&ifg=1

 

mikekohut's picture

As an correction to a previous comment, pepper spray and/or mace is illegal in Canada. However "Bear Spray" is not. Bear Spray is a pepper based spray in a much larger container and it readily available at Canadian Tire or other retail outlets in Canada. Bear Spray is clearly labeled not for use on humans. Also long guns can be taken into Canada for protection against animals, hunting or sport shooting. A special form must be filled out, the firearm inspected by a customs officer and a $25.00 permit fee paid. We have done this many times when crossing into Canada in our motorhome. Taking a long gun into Canada on a boat, means that you will have to have a customs officer meet you boat when entering Canada and may not be worth the effort.

Mel's picture

There were four sailboats and one powerboat that had encounters with the bear as told to me by Roy Eaton a few days ago. One sailboat was a Bayfield 29. That’s a smaller boat with rather low freebooards. One was a cat. On that one the bear tried coming thru the access hatch between the hulls. I don’t know about the other two. The powerboat was a 55’ ChrisCraft. He boarded that one. One boat was boarded at 1130. One fellow unloaded a fire extinguisher in the bear’s face. He was dangerously close to do that as well as the one who used a boat hook and the one who used a paddle that the bear broke. All these would be harrowing fights no doubt. A single swipe of a paw and your face is gone. Pepper spray is illegal in Canada, and don’t even mention guns. The pen sized dispenser would be a joke. Real bear pepper spray is in a tank with a strap you carry on your shoulder. It resembles a fire extinguisher (my choice, or a flare gun). Cruising boats power or sail are designed for easy access for people, including some who are not so agile, to board from a rather low dock, dinghy, or swim ladder. A bear is far more agile and powerful than any person. So bear-proofing a boat or even deterring one that has no fear is not realistic. And once one has a taste of human food it’s not so likely to prefer rolling over logs for a meal given the choice. These are eating machines, getting between them and food (including blueberries) is not much different than getting between a mother and cubs. Years ago I was told of a fellow in Killarney who came home late at night from work in Sudbury to find his place broken into by a bear. The fridge was knocked over among the destruction and its door was broken off. On other occasions I’ve seen people go ashore after a bear has been reported, that is stunning to me. We passed by Heywood after seeing Roy. Of course the harbor was empty. One sailor (Doux Amer) went thru there and reported the bear was on the beach. I expect at least five boats won’t be dropping hook in there for a very long time to come. I see no reason to do so either. However this bear will swim away somewhere else. Hopefully he becomes a trophy in the fall. I would have preferred the OPP to have shot it promptly because of the risk. Certainly interested in any ideas to deal with an encounter, though I’m a skeptic.

Raven's picture

Knowing what type of boat and how he manages to board will help in figuring out how to stop him from boarding in the first place

Mel's picture

This bear is no baby, by one account it’s 250# and has no fear of climbing aboard boats. He’s trashed one boat stem to stern eating everything available while the owners were off on their dinghy. Others have been aboard trying to discourage the bear from boarding with scary results. He’s coming up swim ladders and even over the bow on one boat. So far there have been 5 encounters reported per Roy Eaton on the Cruisers Net. Noise including air horns and aggressively trying to shoo him away isn’t really effective. One boater was beating it over the head with an oar until the bear broke it. At this point there is no known plan by the authorities to deal with this animal. Certainly needs to be disposed of given he’s found his meal ticket. Otherwise some unwitting soul is going to be maimed or worse. It’s well known bears can climb and bust into anything so it doesn’t really matter what boat you have.

Raven's picture

What type of boats were involved, power, sail........?.