Edmonton

Grizzly bear attack fended off by Alberta hunter

Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for Alberta hunter Rick Hollingworth, who survived a grizzly bear attack unscathed.

'It’s something you never want to experience again,' says Rick Hollingworth

'When it came to the bear’s life or our life, we’re glad it was the bear's life,' says Rick Hollingworth, who was hunting for elk with his cousin when the grizzly charged them earlier this month. (Provided)

Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for Alberta hunter Rick Hollingworth, who survived a grizzly bear attack unscathed.

The Valleyview, Alta. man was out elk hunting with his cousin 40 km south of the town on Nov. 13 when they were charged by the 800-pound grizzly.

The bear "didn't give any warning," said Hollingworth. "It was a full-on charge and he was headed straight for my cousin."

Hollingworth, a professional jet boat racer, scrambled for his rifle and, shooting from the hip, pulled the trigger three times.

But the grizzly charged closer, and bounded toward Hollingworth.

"On the last shot, he turned on me and I ducked out of the way, and the bear came around a tree and doubled back on us, on the dead run, but by then I didn't have any shells, I didn't have bullets left in my gun."

Panicked, Hollingworth threw up the butt of his rifle, jamming it straight into the grizzly's snarling, open mouth.

"That kind of stunned him and made him back off, and then the shots I got into him before that started to take effect."

Hollingworth reloaded and shot the bear once more. After an anxious few minutes, the bear relented and disappeared back into the bush.

"It's something you never want to experience again. It took at least a couple of hours for the adrenaline to wear off."

Officials with Alberta Fish and Wildlife confirmed to CBC News the shooting was in self-defence, and that the animal, wandered off and died shortly after the encounter.

"It's a shame that the bear had to be put down," said Hollingworth. "I have a lot of respect for the grizzly bear. 

"I wish we could have got out of there without anything having to be put down. But when it came to the bear's life or our life, we're glad it was the bear's life."

Valleyview is 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

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