Early in the morning on Mar. 23, Sasha Potter was walking home from downtown and reportedly encountered a small black bear on the bridge near the Airport subdivision.
“I was just walking home from the bar, off in my own little world, and got knocked over, I didn’t even see it at first. It just came up from behind me and knocked me over. Then all of a sudden I was on the ground and it was on top of me,” said Potter. “I guess instincts kicked in and I found a rock near me and started smashing it on the nose. I was trying to back away but I was on my elbows. I found a stick and starting hitting it on the head.”
Potter does not believe the bear was aggressively attacking her. Instead she thinks that she entered the bear’s area and startled it. She received a few small cuts and minor bruises from the bear when it stood on her.
“I think I walked into its space. Tuesdays are garbage day down there. There must have been a bit of excess garbage or something on the side of the road. It must have been into some of that and I walked into its space, I do not think it was actually trying to hurt me. I think I just scared it,” she said.
“We have searched the area and there has been some ‘Bear in the Area’ signs put up so we are trying to track it down to determine the site and what exactly happened,” said DeBoon.
If there is a bear incident, then it is imperative that the Report-A-Poacher (RAP) line be called so something can be done.
“Anyone that has an incident with a bear, if the bear makes contact with them we want them to report it to the RAP line right away. The number for that is 1-877-952-7277,” he said.
It is particularly important during this season because the bears are emerging from their dens earlier than normal and food sources are low.
“Especially this time of year since there is not much for food for them to eat. Bears are not normally out this time of year so a lot of the bears that are up this early in the spring are ones that may not have gone into their den in a good shape,” DeBoon said. “If they were in poor condition in the den then when they come out they may be looking more aggressively for food, because they could die if they don’t get it fairly soon.”
The best way to mitigate bear encounters in town is to keep potential bear food sources stored.
“The best way to keep one away from your property is to not have anything out that it could feed on, like garbage or anything like that. Keep it locked up so the bear doesn’t smell it and come onto the site,” he said. “If a bear does enter the property stay away from it, make some noise and try to scare it away. Call the RAP line too, because if this incident happened, if we have an aggressive bear in town, we want to deal with it as soon as possible.”