British Columbia

Bear attacks 2 sleeping B.C. men

Two Nelson, B.C., men are recovering from their wounds after a grizzly bear clawed its way into their tent and attacked them as they slept.
Jeff Hebert, left, and Ken Scown were attacked by a grizzly bear while camping in B.C.'s East Kootenay region Wednesday morning. ((CBC))

Two Nelson, B.C., men are recovering from wounds suffered in a grizzly bear attack earlier this week.

Jeff Hebert and Ken Scown were on a hunting trip in the near Canal Flats in the East Kootenay region, about 300 kilometres southwest of Calgary, when they say a grizzly attacked them early Wednesday morning as they slept in their tent.

The animal — estimated to be two metres tall — jumped onto the tent, landing on Scown, while Hebert struggled to load his rifle in the dark.

"Right off the bat, [the bear] pinned me and bit me in the right leg, and she got me in the arm," said Scown.

Hebert shows a forearm wound where he was bitten by the grizzly. ((CBC))

Hebert said he was trying to push the bear off Scown while Hebert was struggling to get a round into the rifle.

Hebert said they were, "being tossed in the tent like we were in the rodeo. "

"I closed the bolt on the gun, thinking I have a bullet in and pushed the bear up because I didn't want to shoot my friend," Hebert said.

Hebert thought he had a clear shot and squeezed the trigger, but only heard a "click." He had not pushed the bullet all the way into position in the gun.

The men placed a cigarette lighter into a paw print to provide some scale as to the animal's size. ((CBC))

"I just put gun to the side, trying to push the bear off [and] Ken is telling me, 'shoot the bear, shoot the bear!'" Hebert said.

The bear tore through the tent, gouging both men before Hebert managed to get free and chase it away.

"I kind of always wondered what it felt like to be bit," Scown said. "Luckily, it didn't get a full upper and lower jaw-bite on me, but it didn't feel as bad as I thought it was going to feel.

"I didn't know it was bleeding until I got out [of the tent] and felt it running down my hand and dripping all over the snow," said Scown.

They were treated in hospital for wounds to their forearms and released. Scown also had a bite on his leg. The injuries were not serious.

The men said that once they cleaned up and hiked back to their truck, they could see bear tracks that indicated the animal had been following them the previous day.

The men show a rip in their tent caused by the grizzly. ((CBC))

"I firmly believe she was hunting us," said Scown.

Hebert says the attack also dispelled a hunter's myth for him.

"Once you go to sleep in your tent … it's not going to see your tent as a threat," Hebert said. "But that's not the case anymore."