Forest Ink: Documentray describes the life of a tree planter through a loyal dog


Jim Hilton

Tribune special report

I recently listened to an interview with filmmaker Everett Bumstead talking about his new film Block Dog, which he shot near Quesnel. As depicted in the trailer, the documentary explores the lives of British Columbia’s tree planters through the eyes of a loyal dog and is now available to stream on CBC Gem.

One tree planter praised his dog for saving him from serious injury when he was attacked by a bear, while others cherished their canine companions’ keen senses, which have prevented many encounters with wildlife. I found this interview interesting because I have been reviewing three second-hand books about interacting with bears.

I recommend two of these books to anyone who wants to feel more comfortable in the woods by learning how to avoid and handle black, grizzly, and polar bears.

Authors Erin McCloskey and Stephen Herrero cover weekend hikers, prospectors, hunting and fishing guides, mushroom pickers, or anyone who spends a significant amount of time in the backcountry of negative and heroic stories of human interactions with bears.

For anyone looking for a suitable canine companion like a tree planter, I recommend Bear Attack II Myth and Reality by James Gary Sheldon.

The author has done extensive research on bear habits and has taught many people who want to know more about how to minimize harm from bear encounters. While keeping dogs as companions in the woods is controversial (especially off-leash puppies), here’s what the authors concluded.

“The number of people injured or killed by bears in the company of dogs is very small compared to the number of people saved from injury or death by dogs.” He then goes on to provide more on the proper selection and training of working dogs Details, which are vital to the safety of dogs and their owners. He described five different ways to use dogs against bears, 1. to keep bears away from homes, and 2. to protect livestock from bears. 3. Bear hunting. 4. For hiding and defending against bears, and 5. For bullying bears in parks or other high-use areas.

As you would expect, choosing the right breed depends on the task required, with setters, pointers, retrievers, collies, and collies being easier to train for certain tasks, while other breeds are better suited for defense. Some northern breeds, such as Huskies, Siberians, Malamutes, and Karelians, are more defensive but much more difficult to train because they are more independent and easily distracted by other small animals.

The author also details the pros and cons of bear spray, noise generators, and firearms (which is beyond the scope of this article), and points out some good resources for serious outdoorsmen.

My conclusion from this information is that predators can pose a threat anytime we encounter them, but I still want to enjoy the many wild areas of this province and will continue to be vigilant to avoid those that increase negative encounters risky situations.

read more: New documentary captures Cornell’s tree-planting life

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