Black bear mauls woman on Okanagan Highland hiking trail
'The next thing I know I was on my back with this bear on top of me,' says Rachel Lautard
WARNING: This story contains a graphic photograph
A woman from Greenwood, B.C. is nursing her wounds after a bear knocked her flat on her back on an Okanagan hiking trail last weekend.
Rachel Lautard says she was mauled by the small black bear while camping near Conkle Lake Provincial Park, southeast of Kelowna in the Boundary Region.
"I couldn't believe this was happening to me," she said recalling the experience.
Lautard was on an afternoon hike with her family and a friend when she decided to pick up her pace and got ahead of the others.
She says she heard loud footsteps behind her so she turned around and saw a dog run by in a flash — followed quickly by a black bear charging towards her.
"The next thing I know I was on my back with this bear on top of me," she said. "I was wearing steel-toed work boots at the time and I was kicking and basically bicycling and screaming for help."
She doesn't remember how long the two tussled for as she struggled to get free.
"He bit into my leg and he was holding on but I was kicking as hard as I could."
Lautard believes the bear may have been chasing the dog but attacked her instead.
She suspects the animal may have been distracted and eventually let go of her of her leg, after the dog returned.
"He got off, and I got up," said Lautard, who says she jumped to her feet despite being injured.
Her friend — who happened to be a doctor — then arrived. But the bear was reluctant to leave even as they flailed their arms and screamed at it.
After her friend "ran at it", she says the bear climbed up a tree and finally took off. The two then worked on getting her wounds dressed and helped her out of the bush.
She was left with two puncture wounds and a gash on her left calf that needed 10 stitches.
Lautard says she sees bears "all the time" and has even had another bear run at her but never with such ferocity and intensity.
With files from Daybreak South