WATCH: A woman hiking in Metchosin had the surprise of her life as she came face-to-face with a black bear. She was left shaken and with the scratches to prove it. With hibernation coming soon, experts say bears may be more active at this time of year. As Kori Sidaway reports they’re asking for people to be ‘bear aware’.
Tara Mowat walks her dogs every day of the year at Matheson Park in Metchosin, but when hiking this past week with family visiting from England, they came face to face with an unexpected visitor.
“He just went “bear!” And I turned thinking he was joking, but there was the bear,” said Ali Woof.
Upon seeing the bear, their five dogs ran. So did Tara and Ali, and so did the bear, with everyone going in the same direction until the bear ended up on Woof’s back.
“I just literally felt it on my back and I could see it. It was here by my face and I just completely panicked and just went oh gosh. I was really terrified,” recounted Woof.
The bear hasn’t been seen in the area since, but others in Metchosin have been recently seeing bears in the region more than usual.
“With fall approaching we’d like to remind the public that bears will be hungry, they’re trying to pack on as many pounds as possible before the start denning later this fall,” said deputy chief Chris Doyle of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Conservation officers have been at Matheson Park making sure hikers aren’t leaving food or garbage unattended and suggesting park goers keep dogs close by or on a leash, especially during a time when bears are known to be more active.
“Bears have been walking back and forth on these trails forever, but what stops them is an attractant and one of the biggest attractants is garbage,” said Nitya Harris who heads the Island’s Coexisting with Carnivores Alliance.
Meanwhile, for Mowat, the daily dog walks will go on as usual, with a few changes.
“No, I’m not concerned,” said Mowat.
You have to be aware that it’s out there. But are you going to stop walking and enjoying the outdoors because there are bears out there? No. You’re just going to cross your fingers and hope it doesn’t happen again, but I am going to be getting bear bells.”
And while Woof walked away from the incident with just a few scratches, she’ll head back to England, shaken.
“I just hope no one else needs to go through that.”