bc-100908-bear-rock

Jesse Mengler says he knocked out a bear when he heaved a rock about the same size as the one he holds here at the animal. ((CBC))

A B.C. man says he saved himself from serious injury or even death when he knocked out a charging black bear with a well-aimed rock.

Logger Jesse Mengler was assessing a rural wooded area near Castlegar in August when he had to put his experience as a baseball pitcher to unexpected use.

He said he had clapped his hands over his head and yelled, but the bear did not stop its charge at him.

"It had one intention and that intention was me," Mengler told CBC News on Wednesday.

'Two inches to the left or right, I might not be here telling you the story.'—Jesse Mengler, logger who encountered bear

He said his truck was too far away for him to reach and the bear was too fast to outrun.

Mengler said he looked down and saw a rock the size of his hand.

"By this time, it was [10 metres] away. I reached down quick, I grab this rock. … By this time, he's [three metres] away. [I] reached back and just threw the rock and struck it right between the eyes.

"It was like I shot it. Knocked it right out."

High number of encounters

Mengler said he has seen many black bears, but never one that moved as quickly and aggressively as this one.

"Two inches to the left or right, I might not be here telling you the story."

He isn't sure what happened to the bear or whether the rock he threw killed it, he said.

There have been 180 bear encounters with humans this year around Castlegar, according to the advocacy group Bear Aware.

About 60 bears have been killed by conservation officers so far in the area, about 400 kilometres east of Vancouver, said Bear Aware's Betty Offin.

Offin said that is four times the total of bears killed by officers in all of 2009 and she blames humans for much of the problem.

"People have become complacent, [leaving] lots more garbage out," Offin said. "Bears are coming into town, being a lot more aggressive, also more habituated … to people."