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Got the Goat

Grizzly bear killed a goat and scared a farmer on Quadra Island

Grizzly bear goes after goats at Quadra Island farm

A Quadra Island winemaker is sleeping with one eye open after encountering a grizzly bear last Monday night.

Ben and Jill McGuffie, owners of SouthEnd Farm Winery, noticed earlier that day that one of their three goats, a pregnant female due to have its kids, was missing. The couple and their two children searched for it all day without luck.

They had heard rumours of a bear roaming Quadra Island. Black bears, let alone grizzlies, are rare on Quadra, so they didn’t think much of it.  Then that night, at about 9:45 pm, there was a commotion outside. They went to investigate. McGuffie saw one of his goats “running faster than I have ever seen it run before.”

“Right behind it was a big brown blur, and I thought, ‘Oh, so the bear is real,’” McGuffie said in a story reported June 10 in the Vancouver Sun.

He and his wife armed themselves with a deck brush and a chunk of plywood and went into protection mode. First, he threw the brush at the bear. It stopped to look then continued chasing the goats. Then he started throwing rocks, and that’s when the bear disappeared into the woods.

For now, the two other goats, one of whom is also pregnant, are sleeping in the house. Grizzlies are known to swim, and island-hop, their way from the Mainland to Vancouver Island. McGuffie says he’s lived on Quadra Island since 1977 and has only heard of two other grizzly bear visits.   

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it was aware of a grizzly that has been on Quadra Island for the past three or four weeks.

Residents are being urged to minimize garbage, compost and other items that could attract bears. Quadra Islanders should also keep livestock in a secure place and their pets on a leash.  Conservation officers have left a bear trap on McGuffie’s property.