Bear mauls fisherman on docked boat. Vancouver Island, BC

Bear mauls fisherman on docked boat. Times Colonist. “Bystanders rush to help, swarm and kill bear; victim was cleaning fish at Port Renfrew marina.”

It’s important to note that while people tend to fear grizzlies, almost all predatory bear attacks are black bears.

This was the first such bear attack on Vancouver Island.





  1. Chuck Parker Avatar
    Chuck Parker

    “If we factor in that there are at least three times more black bears in Alaska than brown/grizzlies, we see that brown/grizzlies have actually had more than double the precacious events per 1,000 bears than black bears.” Biologist Tom Smith quoted in the Anchorage Daily News, July 17, 2005 “In bear country you just can’t be too careful”

    Stephen Herrero and Andrew Higgins made the same point in a published article titled “Human Injuries Inflicted by Black Bears in British Columbia: 1960-1997”

    “We cannot conclude that predation is more likely in black bears because B.C. has approximately twelve times as many black bears as grizzly bears.”

  2. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    It is also important to note that the salmon runs in that area have been poor this year. I think you will see more of this as fall approaches.

  3. SmokyMtMan Avatar


    I thought the same thing when I read that. In North America, current estimates for black bear populations across the continent are about 800,000.

    The grizzly bear population is estimated at 15,000 or so in North America.

    No surprise most attacks are from black bears. However, if you factor in population numbers, it is clear the number of attacks on humans have more to do with population numbers than a bear’s individual propensity to go after a human.

  4. vicki Avatar

    I heard this story on the news three times today. Not once was it mentioned that the man was cleaning fish. That is an interesting tid-bit to leave out.

  5. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Vicki the article insinuates that more was being done. . perhaps this bear had had regular feedings on this boat and thought the man was stealing his dinner plate. One thing that always happens when a person gets mauled is we hear only one side of the story and several convenient things are left out. Not that I don’t feel sorry for the man . . but I have also noticed that once a bear makes up his mind that something is unfair, they stick to that idea, especially if it has to do with food. It is almost as if they will fight to the death for a regular source of food, one we may not know they have.

  6. vicki Avatar

    Obviously the key facts get left out a lot. It is truly unforunate that the media will be pushing this as a crazed bear gone rogue..instead of a habituated or hungry animal who reacted how any animal might in this scenario.

  7. vickif Avatar

    I am watching a program on the Discovery Channel, it is a study done on bear behavior. They use a large clear cube, and place men in it to observe bear behavior toward them, and various scenarios. It is something to see. The program, Bear Feeding Frenzy, is quite eye opening. Watching the behavior, provoked and unprovoked, shows how little you can do once attacked. I am watching the bears pull tents with dummies away and it gives me pause. I will certainly be more aware of my surroundings in the future.

  8. ed Avatar

    I am sorry, but I cannot watch this show without questioning it. I was born and raised in Alaska. No that does not make me a bear expert but I have to question why a bear would tear a tent open for a dummy when there were 2 humans 10 ft away in a clear box that had 2 ” holes in it. To my understanding bears do not like plastic over flesh. This show seems to be dramatizing a bear’s natural instinct to find food. I think they had something else in the tent other than a plastic dummy or maybe the dummy had been rubbed down with a smell that was more enticing.

  9. lynn Avatar

    the bears used in the “Bear Feeding Frenzy” are not wild, they are captive bears that were raised at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. They don’t act like wild bears because they see hundreds of people every day and are feed by their human keepers. Just another reality show for entertainment not education.

  10. JB Avatar

    “We cannot conclude that predation is more likely in black bears because B.C. has approximately twelve times as many black bears as grizzly bears.”

    This is a somewhat misleading statement. It really depends on what, exactly you are trying to quantify. If you’re interested in quantifying your risk of being attacked by black bears as compared to grizzlies, then I think you can conclude definitively that you are more likely to be attacked by a black bear.

    If you are interested in animal behavior–specifically, the propensity of the two species to attack humans–then the study cited by Chuck suggests that grizzly bears attacks on humans occur with greater frequency than black bear attacks, relative to their populations. However, if you’re really interested in behavior it would also be important to know how frequently each of these two types of species comes into contact with people (i.e. they have an encounter). Then you could get estimate how frequently encounters lead to attacks.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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