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The Hungry Hill "Phantom" Grizzly Bear


The bear at the Smither's airport was captured by local Conservation Officers in the fall of 2001.  It is believed that this bear was responsible for killing upwards of 30 head of cattle in the Hungry Hill area, which is between Smithers and Houston.  The killing of cattle, which occured in calving areas as well as grazing areas, took place over a three-year period.


Some of the cows killed weighed as much as 1500 lbs.  (682 kg.).  Conservation Officers responded to the kills and set snares and traps, but the bear managed to avoid capture for more than three years.  He was able to trigger snares and grab cow carcass without being caught on more than one occasion.


In October 2001, after a rash of new kills, Officers were finally successful in capturing this bear in a cable leg hold snare.  The snare, consisting of a spring-loaded cable anchored to a tree, captured the bear by the leg.


As the two officers, Kevin Nixon and Brad Lacey, approached the area cautiously, the bear managed to break the snare cable and charge at the officers.  The bear 24 meters from the officers when the snare broke and made it to within 7 meters of them before being shot.


Although everyone involved knew there was a large bear responsible for the predation on the cattle, the size of the bear certainly surprised everyone.  This male Grizzly Bear weighed 1012 lbs. (460 kg.) and appeared to be healthy.


It is suspected that he was able to break the snare cable due to the fact that he had weakened it with his teeth.