Man Who Tried To Fight Grizzly Bear In Banff National Park Fined $4,000

by : Cameron Frew on : 17 Sep 2019 14:17
Drunk Man Mistuing Grizzly Bear ThumbThomas Murray O'Neill

A moron has been handed a $4,000 fine after trying to fight a grizzly bear minding its own business. 

The incident unfolded in Banff National Park, 2015. A couple of photographers were peacefully observing the lone grazing grizzly on Highway 93.


Then came Devin Mitsuing, emerging from his truck shirtless and proceeding to shout and ‘throw rocks’ at the bear.

Drunk Man Mistuing Grizzly BearThomas Murray O'Neill

The photographer said this lasted for around 10 minutes, before Mitsuing took ‘a boxing stance’ and charged at the animal – startling it to run back into a bush.

The case finally came to trial in the Canmore Provincial Courthouse last Friday (September 13) with Judge George Gaschler finding the Saskatchewan man guilty and imposing a $4,000 fine.


As reported by RMO Today, Judge Gaschler said:

It is abundantly clear this is a disturbance of a grizzly bear and I find [Mitsuing] guilty.

Mitsuing was absent from the morning trial after nipping out to grab some food before the doors opened – though he returned afterwards and handed himself in to the police.


Thomas Murray O’Neill, a British Columbia photographer, told the court he had been taking pictures of the bear on the Icefields Parkway near Peyto Lake for approximately an hour on June 5, 2015, when the red truck with a Saskatchewan licence plate pulled up.

O’Neill explained:

We were on the other side of the highway when a truck pulled up and two gentlemen got out, started yelling at the bear and throwing rocks… then he took off his shirt and got in a boxing stance.

While the photographer couldn’t quite make out what was being shouted, he was certain it was a grizzly bear – after 40 years of taking pictures of the animals and other wildlife.


O’Neill called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), believing Mitsuing to be drunk at the time.


Park Warden Paul Friesen told the court he was working in Kootenay National Park when he was contacted about a man harassing a grizzly bear in Banff National Park.

After checking the plate and chatting with officials, Friesen found that the vehicle had actually already been impounded after RCMP officers were called to Radium Hot Springs with reports of a disturbance.


The officers there found Mitsuing and his friends in an intoxicated state – so they impounded the vehicle and dropped them off at a hotel, where Friesen found him the next day.

In an audio statement taken by Friesen at the hotel, which was played in court, Mitsuing said:

I was just trying to get a picture, was just f*cking around… I thought it was a brown bear.

Grizzly BearPixabay

Federal Crown prosecutor Jeremy Newton reminded Mitsuing that grizzly bears are a protected species, and was very lucky not to be harmed after his reckless actions.

Newton said following the trial: 

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.

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.

Mitsuing has until October 16 this year to pay the fine – which will be put towards the Environmental Damages Fund – or face 33 days in jail.

What is the lesson here? Don’t drink and drive? Don’t fight a grizzly bear? I think don’t be a f*cking idiot will suffice.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, News, US News


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    Man who tried to fight grizzly bear in Banff National Park fined $4,000