A Canadian has pleaded guilty to shooting and injuring a black bear in Alberta’s Jasper National Park.
Serge Painchaud, 42, was fined CA$7,500 (about US$5,641) for the incident, which occurred in August last year and violated a hunting ban under the Canada National Parks Act. The Guardian reports.
Painchaud had gone hiking with two friends but tired out in front of his companions and returned alone. While alone, he saw a bear about 30 meters away and across a creek, according to the factual statement agreed in the case obtained from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The hiker said he “got scared” and fired a warning shot in the air with the 20-caliber shotgun he had brought into the park. Firearms are not allowed in Canada’s national parks, a rule Painchaud said in court he “frankly had no idea” existed.
After the warning shot, the bear took a few steps towards Painchaud, after which it shot and injured the animal. The wounded bear rolled down a creek bank and fled into the forest.
Judge Rosanna Saccomani said the fear Painchaud felt at the sight of the bear was irrelevant to the case.
″[That] would apply to pretty much every single person in your situation,” she said, according to CBC. “We’re all afraid of bears.”
Parks Canada spokesman Kevin Gedling said at the time of the incident that wardens found bear blood at the scene but were unable to locate the injured bear. He said the Western Standard that the forest landscape made the search “very challenging” and that injured bears could be aggressive and dangerous.
The US National Park Service notes that bear attacks are rare and has detailed instructions Description of what hikers should do when encountering bears. Advice includes staying calm, stretching as tall as possible, and speaking in a calm, firm voice. It is important never to run away from a bear, as bears are fast runners and will instinctively chase a fleeing animal.