Black bears shot by residents in Old Massett

A bear was shot in Old Massett after eating from containers left outside. (Roxanne Edgars/Facebook)

Residents shot and killed two black bears in Old Massett last week.

The first was shot Thursday night outside the gas station, where it was eating something from plastic bins on the grass. The bear did not die right away.

A second bear was reportedly shot and killed later the same night, after a missed shot.

For weeks, at least two bears have been going into people’s yards in Old Massett, by the Haida Health Centre, outside Chief Matthews Elementary, and along Trumpeter Drive in Masset.

Conservation officers set a trap by the village hall, but said it had little chance of working while there was so much easier-to-get food around, from unsecured garbage to deer carcasses and fish waste dumped above the high-tide line.

“It’s a frustrating situation,” said Sergeant Kyle Ackles, the local conservation officer.

“The only reason that bear died is because people are leaving attractants out.”

While residents reported sightings to a Facebook group — which did list the 1-877-952-7277 reporting line — Ackles said he and his colleagues actually got very few calls.

They will investigate the fact that someone fired a gun in the village.

Constable Chris Kienzle of the Masset RCMP said police would follow up as well.

“We would absolutely discourage anybody from walking around with firearms in the village,” Kienzle said.

In the near future, Ackles said he plans to work with all Haida Gwaii communities and come up with a strategy for reducing problems with bears.

“But I think for now, it’s just really important that people manage their attractants — it’s the time of year bears get ready for hibernation, and they’re much more active right now.”

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