Bear mauls fisherman aboard boat in B.C. Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=6474783c-06b9-4671-9520-4b0a88447336 VICTORIA - A Saltspring Island fisherman is recovering in hospital after he was viciously mauled by a black bear that boarded his boat in Port Renfrew Tuesday evening. "This is the first major aggressive black-bear attack causing that kind of injury on Vancouver Island," said conservation officer Gord Hitchcock from Nanaimo. The 52-year-old man had been fishing with a friend aboard his power boat and returned with a coho salmon to the marina in Port Renfrew, about 100 kilometres northwest of Victoria, said Hitchcock. The two men went to the marina office to clean the fish and were returning to the boat around 5 p.m. local time when a bear - at least 10 years old and weighing 80 kilograms - climbed up on the wharf after swimming the Gordon River. The bear was about 50 metres away when the man boarded the boat. "The bear immediately followed him and boarded the boat," said Hitchcock. "The victim threw his fish in the general vicinity of the bear but the bear attacked the victim in the boat." The man's friend tried to pull the bear off the man using a fishing gaff, but was unsuccessful. Five other people swarmed the bear and attacked it with whatever weapons they had available. "Through the means of gaffs, knives and a hammer they were able to pull the bear off the victim and kill the bear," Hitchcock said. The dead bear was left in the boat until a conservation officer arrived to take it away. The victim's name has not been released and he has refused to media requests for interviews. The animal is undergoing a necropsy in Nanaimo to explore what might have led to the mauling. Initial examination showed it to be elderly and in poor health. Mike Hicks of Sooke, who owns a fishing resort in Port Renfrew, said he's not at all surprised a bear mauled a fisherman. Three weeks ago, Hicks called the conservation service about bears. "We had a problem with bears walking down the pier, going down the ramp and sitting in boats looking for food," he said. "Our patrons were shooing them out of the boats and taking pictures. It was absolutely bizarre . . . and totally dangerous." A female tourist was cornered by a bear but escaped without being harmed, he said. Hicks wanted the bears moved or killed but the conservation officer said nothing would be done unless someone was in imminent danger. "They never did send an officer out and yesterday a bear, probably the same bear, took down this fellow," said Hicks. "The whole situation is absolutely disgusting." But Hitchcock takes issue with the suggestion that conservation officers haven't been taking the problem seriously. He says bears are common in Port Renfrew and people there have to take responsibility with garbage and fish scraps. "We work with marine authorities around prevention . . . keeping the bears from coming in to access fish sources," he said. "They have to manage their attractions or all we'll be doing is destroying bears out there." Hitchcock said conservation officers responded immediately when they got word of the attack. Two officers were deployed from Nanaimo, one from Ladysmith and one from Sooke. While travelling, they heard the bear had been killed already. The 5 p.m. attack shocked some local residents, said Dan Tennant, Port Renfrew fire chief. Tennant said such attacks have "never, ever" happened in the area before. "I always tell people in Port Renfrew the bears are more afraid of you than you are of them. I encounter (bears) almost daily and they're pretty docile," he said. "I'm not sure what happened here." Hitchcock said the bear's behaviour is unusual. "I don't know what to say. I've been fishing there. It's an isolated event for a Vancouver Island bear to act with that sort of behaviour, absolutely." The man was conscious and in stable condition when he was flown by air ambulance to Victoria General Hospital. He was later transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital, where he underwent surgery. His condition has not been made public. Since 1986, eight people in B.C. have been killed by black bears and 75 have been injured. Such attacks are rare on Vancouver Island, with reports only coming in over the last five years. --- Well atleast I have justification when I have to tell the cops I lost all my firearms in a tragic boating accident.