Nfld. & Labrador

Black bear encounter way too close for comfort for salmon angler

Darren Davis had to call a friend to come with a gun and fire a few shots to get a bear to let him leave.

Darren Davis had to call a friend with a gun to fire 4 warning shots to clear bear off

A black bear got way too close for comfort for a salmon angler in central Newfoundland. (Casey Brown/Flickr)

Wildlife is something Darren Davis knows well and is pretty comfortable with, but one encounter with a black bear this week was way too close for comfort.

I was on the phone with my buddy saying, "For the love of God don't fire your last shot."- Darren Davis

Davis met up with some friends on Traverse Brook, between Hare Bay and Gambo in central Newfoundland, to catch a few salmon.

He was late getting out on the water and it was nearly getting dark, so while his friends headed back in for the night, Davis stayed out to have a few more flicks.

It wasn't long before he heard some sounds that put him on alert.

"I heard the water splashing behind me. To be honest, I thought it was a warden coming out and telling me it's getting close to dark now it's time to get off the brook," he said.

Darren Davis was salmon fishing on Traverse Brook in central Newfoundland when he heard the bear come up behind him. (Submitted by Darren Davis)

"When I turned around I was face and eyes with a big black bear. He was actually really big, I'd say over 700 pounds, which is — I've never seen a black bear that big."

Frozen with shock, Davis stood still for a minute before swinging his net at the bear — which was so close Davis actually hit it.

"I was staring at him and bawling at him. I guess he had me there for 15 minutes like that — I was afraid to move obviously. It's a big bear," he told CBC's Central Morning.

'He just wasn't leaving'

Eventually, Davis got fed up and wanted to get the bear to move off, so he grabbed a rock out of the water and threw it at the bear.

The bear was startled and made its way up to the bridge, where Davis was trying to go, and stared the fisherman down before charging at him again.

Darren Davis says his friend had to fire off four gunshots before the bear eventually moved off into the woods, allowing him to escape. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

"He kept me out on the brook for probably another 25 minutes. I had to call my friends in my hometown and ask them to come up with a gun to scare the bear off because he just wasn't leaving," said Davis.

When his friend eventually arrived, Davis said the bear didn't even seem to notice that a vehicle and a third man had joined the standoff.

I hope it keeps some angler safe and let them realize that they've got to be prepare for just about anything.- Darren Davis

"My buddy let one shot go and it kinda startled the bear but he didn't move. So I had to tell him to let another one go and he fired another shot and the bear just moved off the beach into the cover of brush there a little bit and still stayed there," said Davis.

On the third shot is when the bear started wandering up into the woods, so Davis started making his way to shore.

"I was on the phone with my buddy saying, 'For the love of God don't fire your last shot because you don't know what's gonna happen here now in a second.' In the end there was four shots fired and I got out of it safe and sound."

'Prepared for just about anything'

Davis has seen plenty of bears in that area before, given its proximity to the now-closed Gambo dump.

He's also heard of several other people from his town running into bears in that area this year.

But this seemingly aggressive bear encounter is a first for Davis.

"I hope it keeps some angler safe and let them realize that they've got to be prepared for just about anything."

With files from Dave Newell and the Central Morning Show