By Carole Rooney
100 Mile House Free Press
A bizarre incident between a badger and a fisherman has amazed and astounded folks who thought they’d seen just about all there was to see with animal incidents in lakes.
Ron Lancour of Kelowna says he was out in his boat on Sheridan Lake on Friday afternoon (July 22) when he had a run-in with a swimming badger that jumped on board – and then refused to leave.
“I was going along fishing in my boat, watching my fishing rods out the back, and I glanced ahead and I could see something swimming in the water just ahead of me.”
Lancour, who is a trapper, says he didn’t immediately recognize what he was looking at when the badger was swimming back and forth and around his boat.
“Then I hear this snarling coming behind me, and between my motors, was a badger. He wanted me out of there.”
The startled fisherman then grabbed his net and tried to use the handle to push the large, adult badger back in the water, but soon realized it was “gaining ground” and chewing up the handle, he explains.
“Now, he’s coming over my fish box into the main part of the boat, so I knew what I had to do – I had to stun him to get him out of there. So, I grabbed my paddle and I kind of hit him across the nose.”
Lancour says he did not hit the small invader very hard in an effort to avoid injuring it, since he knows badgers are endangered and protected in British Columbia.
After managing to nudge the animal back a little bit, he gave it a little push, and then another whack, and it finally went back into the water, he explains.
“I kind of breathed a sigh of relief, and darned if he wasn’t coming back in on the other side of the big motor. So, now, he’s really cranky.”
With that part of the boat so cluttered with steering arms and fuel hoses to get at him there, Lancour says the best he could do was let the pirating badger climb in and go at him with the paddle again, which eventually broke in half.
“I gave him another rap on the nose and this time I pushed him out and I kept pushing him with the paddle, and when he hit that water, he very much came to.”
Now, it was back swimming in the lake, he continued pushing the badger to try to prevent him from climbing back in the boat again, and then seized the chance to take another evasive action, he adds.
“I reached over and hit the throttle on my little motor, and of course [the boat] surged ahead a bit, and away he went toward the big island on the lake and I carried along on my way.”
While camping and fishing at Sheridan Lake brought him to the South Cariboo on this visit, Lancour notes he also comes to the region annually for BC Trappers Association conferences, as a member, and several times as the event master of ceremonies.
Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family Mustelidae – which also includes the otters, polecats, weasels and wolverines – and aren’t normally aggressive unless threatened, he explains.
“I’ve dealt with nuisance animals before, and … when [badgers] are cornered, they are almost as snarly as a wolverine can be.
“This one, I think, just wanted out of that water… but he just picked the wrong person to tangle with.”
The trapper says he has never heard of a badger attempting to pirate a boat before, but he doesn’t know how somebody with no experience – or children in the boat – could have handled getting an aggressive one like the one he dealt with out of the boat.
“Somebody would have been swimming, and I don’t think it would have been him.”
Dave Carswell, the owner of Sheridan Lake Resort where Lancour was staying at the time, says he was amazed when his guest told him what happened, right after returning to the camp.
“I didn’t think badgers could swim.”
In his 12 years at Sheridan Lake, Carswell says he has never even seen a badger, nor heard of a similar incident happening anywhere.
However, the resort owner agrees it was a lucky break to have this strange encounter happen with a trapper, rather than someone inexperienced with these endangered – and potentially dangerous – omnivores.