Column: Be aware of bears roaming in the Shuswap

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

“If you go out in the woods today, you better not go alone. It’s lovely out in the woods, but better stay at home, For every bear that ever there was, will gather there for certain because, today’s the day the grizzlies will have their picnic”.

Yes, it’s a wonderful children’s melody, but for Peter Rowbottom and family, the bears passing through his property could be a concern. Of course, the bears are attracted to the cornfield next door, but when it’s harvested what do the bears do?

Years ago, flying in a 206 Bell Ranger, after counting salmon numbers all day we would go over large cornfields viewing bear crop circles. Up to eight bruins in some. Trinity, Grindrod and Mara held high bear numbers. But for the grizzly bears, DFO had a fencing project on Senn Creek at Malakwa some years back and the bears seemed prevalent then. We saw them many times. They just adopted that area as their own.

Stan Heitman, of Sicamous, see’s them passing through his property along the Eagle River enjoying dinners of spawned out salmon each fall, and one large silvertip visited the church yard behind the Kyllo residence sometime back. The bears need lots of room to roam.

Unfortunately, as farming expands and homes are built in rural areas. along with increased timber harvest in bear country, there will be more interaction with us humans. As it is, CO’s have dealt with 3,240 bear issues since May this season – 1,183 more than last season. A lot more involving grizzlies.

Read more: VIDEO: Shuswap resident’s yard becomes nighttime thoroughfare for grizzlies

Read more: VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Read more: Six bears destroyed in three days in West Kelowna

Many hunters are going afield these days to fill their family freezers. Seems their environment, landscapes, the whole picture has changed as few deer have been harvested. Some moose have been seen (season 3-26 Nov 1-15) – spike fork bulls only. Few animals are taken in open areas east and north of Sicamous.

It appears wolves are taking down numbers of game animals as the packs move through large watersheds. Dominant resident packs reside, too, in the Ratchford area out of Seymour Arm, as well as the Wap and Kingfisher areas. The animals can travel long distances in a night while hunting.

Us old guys who used to chase cougars with dogs and be more active outdoors have slowed down, but predator numbers continue to increase. This has an effect of game populations declining. For the younger guy and gal hunters who persue their sport with a passion, they will have to park that expensive 4×4/quad, get off their keister and hunt just a bit harder to fill that freezer. Just watch out for the black bears and grizzlies, who had their picnic in a harvested cornfield!


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