B.C. man comes out swinging in bear attack
Warning: this story contains graphic details
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 | 6:43 PM PT
A Cariboo, B.C., man who was attacked by a bear says he used a stick to put up the fight of his life after he realized he was likely in a fight to the death.
Jim West, 45, was out walking last Saturday morning with his two dogs near 70 Mile House, about halfway between Kamloops and Williams Lake, when he came face to face with an angry mother bear.
"I turned [when] I heard a grunt. All I saw was eyes full of hatred … I had no option … So I stuck my foot up and tried to kick her in the face," he said.
The bear then attacked him, knocking him to the ground, and West soon found himself on the losing side of an ill-matched fight.
"I rolled onto my stomach and clasped my hands at the back of my neck. She tore into my skull at the back of my head, moved over and bit me on the left side of my body, on my ribs and left arm," said West.
Knowing he would likely soon be dead unless he fought back, the injured West managed to get to his feet and picked up a stick about as thick as his arm.
Bear's skull crushed
"I said, in effect, bring it on sweetie. I took one step forward — smash!" said West.Jim West demonstrates how he swung at the oncoming bear with a stick he grabbed off the ground. (CBC)
"I swung the stick and broke it over her head. She kind of stood there and shook it off, like she was stunned," he said.
"I realized if I didn't continue the attack she would knock me to the ground again and I would not get up.
"I swung my piece of wood like a sledgehammer driving spikes and I kept swinging till she was lying flat on the ground and there was blood coming out of her nose," said West.
The five-foot-nine man eventually crushed the bear's skull with the stick, killing it.
West then walked a kilometre and a half to a local lodge, where he was transported to hospital. The gashes in his body took 60 stitches to sew up.
The incident surprised even conservation officers, who say West is lucky to be alive.
Unfortunately, two young bears had to be euthanized because they would not survive the winter without their mother, West said. And while he regrets the deaths of the three bears, he believes he did what he needed to do to survive.
Latest British Columbia News Headlines
- Trudeau raises environmental questions over pipeline
- Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says a proposed west-east pipeline project will not go forward unless it addresses key environmental concerns. more »
- Coal terminal expansion vital, argues Fraser Surrey Docks
- The CEO of Fraser Surrey Docks says the future of the facility is in jeopardy if a new coal terminal isn't approved. more »
- Flood watch underway in central B.C. Interior
- Several communities in B.C.'s central Interior are watching for signs of flooding after days of heavy rain. more »
- New West parkade a blight on revitalized waterfront
- There's a growing movement in New Westminster, B.C., to tear down a parkade that stretches across the city's waterfront. more »
Top News Headlines
- 2nd suspect in Tim Bosma murder case to plead not guilty
- The lawyer for Mark Smich says the Oakville, Ont., resident will plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man who disappeared earlier this month after taking two men on a test drive of his truck. Smich was charged today, after Dellen Millard of Toronto was also charged with first-degree murder. more »
- U.K. attack suspects were focus of past security probes
- WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Two men accused of butchering a British soldier had featured in previous investigations by security services, a British official said, as investigators tried to determine whether the men were part of a wider radical Islamic plot. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Harper no Obama when it comes to dealing with scandals
- Beset by three so-called scandals at the moment, Barack Obama has been meeting his accusers and the press head on, Neil Macdonald writes. The same cannot be said for how Stephen Harper operates. more »
- Rob Ford: Councillors, media want answers on crack issue
- Newspaper editorials and commentators are expressing frustration over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's silence on allegations he was captured on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. more »
- B.C. teen's heroics save pet dog in 'terrifying' cougar attack
- Plumber's car explodes near Vancouver apartments
- Man stabbed in Vancouver
- Adrian Dix to stay on as B.C. NDP leader despite election loss
- 2 men found in Kalamalka Lake near Vernon, B.C.
- End solitary confinement, says former female inmate
- Greyhound bus caught going twice the speed limit in B.C.
- Wait time and primary care reforms stalled
- Former B.C. MLA Harold Long killed in plane crash