‘In my 10 years as a police officer, I have never been involved in this kind of occurrence,’ said Police Constable Jim Davis.
A 62-year-old woman died late Sunday night after a bear attacked her on Red Pine Island, located just northeast of International Falls, Minnesota. According to a report by CBC, the Ontario Provincial Police responded after the woman’s family, staying on the remote island on Rainy Lake, called to report her missing.
Police had to take a boat and hike along several trails of thick underbrush to arrive at the remote island camp where she had been staying with her parents. Authorities have not yet identified the victim.
While black bears are common in Ontario, attacks are rare. Police said the woman had gone outside to check on her dogs when the bear attacked. When she didn’t return to the cottage, her parents called the police.
Ontario Bear Attack a Rare Occurrence
The fatal attack on the woman involved three bears. Police discovered a large bear near the woman’s body. They heard two other bears — likely yearlings — nearby. Police shot the larger bear, which was acting aggressively.
Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will soon decide whether or not to take action on the other two bears. Police noted that the incident took place on a secluded island. Because there are no other homes or cottages located there, the bears did not pose a significant risk to public safety.
In Ontario, wildlife officials manage bear populations by hunting and trapping. The ministry notes “that there are many thousands of interactions between bears and humans in Ontario on an annual basis without conflict. Most bears avoid humans.”
Red Pine Island is one of several thousand small islands located on the freshwater Rainy Lake between northern Minnesota and Ontario. The lake covers 227,000 acres and is part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, a major outdoor destination for boaters, anglers, and campers.