Conservation officers in Port Alberni spent the day searching for a black bear that may have charged and knocked over a man.

The encounter happened early Tuesday morning in a Port Alberni man's backyard.

"There was no real physical injury to the gentleman, he was thrown down by the bear," said BC Conservation Officer Andrew Riddell. "When we spoke to him, the bear had spooked him and they kind of crossed paths."

Riddell said he's concerned about the bear's aggressive behaviour.

"Any time a bear throws a human to the ground, it's of great concern to the Conservation Officer Service, especially when it's in the middle of a town like this," he said.

Officers were out patrolling Tuesday and set up a trap in the yard of a woman who also had a startling encounter with a bear.

"I didn't even make it up the first stair," said Jennifer McKean. "He was right by the wheelbarrow over there and he stood up on his hind legs so I threw my purse at him, and I ran to my girlfriend's and spent the night."

She said there have been two bears sniffing around her home in recent days, even tearing through nearby fences.

The black bears have also been spotted up the alley from McKean's home, at Albert Titian's property.

"It's the same one every year. He's got a routine, he just comes up and down the alley, tears up garbage cans," said Titian.

Port Alberni bylaw officers were also on the hunt Tuesday, not for bears, but for humans who have been leaving out unsecured garbage cans and other attractants.

"Took a proactive initiative with the CSO's to issue fines and do some educational pieces as well," said bylaw manager Flynn Scott.

The officers have been issuing warnings but the city says many of those have not been heeded, so they're starting to issue fines.

Conservation officers hope the public will keep them informed of any bear sightings by reporting them to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.