To:TW Contract Managers & Planning Group
Date: November 3, 2010
From: Eric Jeklin
Several incidents involving close encounters with wildlife were reported by planning contractors during the month of October. These incidents have been summarized below with recommendations to share with all field crews.
The following four incidents involving silviculture and engineering contractor crews had serious potential for harm and several individuals were quite rattled by the encounters.
- A two man engineering crew were working in a block when they heard a loud commotion ahead. They stopped walking and tried to determine what the commotion was. Seconds later a small black bear brushed past them pursued by a much larger aggressive bear with whom it was fighting. The larger bear stopped in proximity with the engineers and diverting its attention to them. Through lots of loud screaming and throwing objects, the engineers were able to eventually scare off the bear.
- A silviculture surveyor was turning her small vehicle around at the end of an isolated road when a large black bear emerged and laid chase to the vehicle. She managed to escape from the bear without any further incident.
- A two man surveying crew were walking down a washed out road when they encountered a large aggressive female elk. The elk reared up on its hind legs and made several partial charges towards them. Fortunately the crew had bear bangers and discharge 3 before the elk disengaged from its threatening behavior.
- A four man brushing crew were aggressively stalked by a large male cougar while using power saws. They could not dissuade the cougar despite yelling, throwing objects and running their saws. The crew withdrew to their truck and drove to another block several miles away.
- Wherever possible avoid working alone in isolated areas, especially if it involves distancing yourself from your vehicle.
- Field crews working in isolated areas should be equipped with bear bangers, bear spray and some sort of noise device (bells etc.)
- Ensure field crews are familiar with the various wildlife threats and are prepared/trained should they have any encounters (bear aware procedures, wildlife avoidance procedures etc).