The old adage “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” couldn’t ring any more true in this instance. A man was fined $4,000 after he tried to fistfight a grizzly bear that was minding its own business. He even tried to antagonize the bear by throwing rocks at it. Oh yeah, and if you couldn’t tell, alcohol was involved.
This incident took place on June 5, 2015, at Banff National Park in Canada. A couple across the street from Highway 93 were taking pictures of a bear going about its day when two men hopped out of a pickup truck. One of the men pulled off his shirt and began yelling at the bear.
This man was later identified as Devin Mitsuing of Saskatchewan. Mitsuing proceeded to throw rocks at the grizzly and got into a boxing stance as if he was trying to fight the large bear. The incident only lasted a few minutes before the frightened bear ran back into the woods after Mitsuing tried to rush it.
Thomas Murray O’Neill, a British Columbia photographer, watched the incident unfold in disbelief. Concerned for Mitsuing’s well being, O’Neil contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
RCMP found Mitsuing and the other man, who was unnamed, intoxicated. The two were taken back to their hotel rooms by the RCMP. A Park Warden charged Mitsuing under the National Parks Act for disturbing wildlife in a national park, Cochrane Today reported.
On September 13, the issue went to trial where Judge George Gaschler proposed a $4,000 fine on Mitsuing. Jeremy Newton, a Federal Crown prosecutor, made it clear that grizzly bears are a protected species.
Mitsuing tried to argue “he was just f*cking around” and that he “thought it was a brown bear.” Newton then explained to Mitsuing and the court that the man’s antagonism towards the bear could have lasting negative ramifications for anyone that comes across this bear in the future.
“When an individual creates this kind of dangerous situation with a bear, when they charge at him, when they throw rocks at him when they cause him to run into the bush, you are going to create an aggressive animal that obviously has the ability to do a lot of harm to humans and the public in general,” Newton told the courts.
“Mr Mitsuing wasn’t just putting himself in danger, he was putting every other person who comes across this bear in danger in the future, so a large fine is a strong message to other individuals who, for whatever reason, would think to engage in this kind of behaviour you would hope they wouldn’t but it should be even more obvious now.”
According to Unilad, Mitsuing has until October 16 to pay the fine or he will face 33 days in jail.