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A 36-year-old Canadian hunter who was tracking black bears with dogs was airlifted to a hospital on May 16 after a grizzly bear attacked him near Elkford, British Columbia.

The Sparwood resident was hunting with his father around 3 p.m. on a steep hillside when he was “attacked suddenly by an adult grizzly bear,” according to a press release from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). “The man was able to defend himself with his firearm and the bear ran off,” the release said, but the hunter “suffered numerous injuries, including broken bones and lacerations to his body during the attack.” He was in stable condition during the evacuation.

Multiple rescue teams responded to the bear attack in Southeast British Columbia. Facebook

The RCMP and several local search and rescue teams were among the multiple agencies that responded after the man’s father reported the attack, which happened in a remote area near the BC/Alberta border. The terrain and uncertainty about the bear’s location and condition complicated the rescue attempt. A search and rescue team used ropes to move the injured hunter 200 meters down the mountain, then coordinated a “helicopter long-line lift response.”

After the rescue was complete, conservation officers conducted a search for the bear and finally located the grizzly around 9 p.m. near the scene of the attack, dead from gunshot wounds.

Hunting grizzly bears was banned by the BC government in December 2017, with an exception for hunting by Indigenous people for food, social or ceremonial purposes. Grizzly attacks in Canada are rare, but the majority happen in western Canada, according to a widely cited 2023 report from Sportingpedia. British Columbia reported 104 attacks between 2010 and 2021, second only to Alberta, which had 431 attacks during the same period.