Sudbury man punches black bear in face

A Sudbury man is walking away with only scratches after fighting a 300 pound black bear.

Former black bear hunter Rick Nelson appreciates taking boxing classes

“You want to make sure if you punch a bear that you’re hitting it straight in its snout. That's really the only thing you have on a bear that will really startle it," Rick Nelson told CBC News. (Provided)

A Sudbury man is walking away with only scratches after fighting a 300 pound black bear.

Sixty-one year old Rick Nelson was walking his dog in the Panache area on Sunday afternoon when he stumbled across the bear's cub.

"I sat down on a log and the bear cub poked its head out of the shrub nearby. It was so close I could touch it. It let out a yelp, because I scared the heck out of it," Nelson told CBC News.

"I knew right away I was in trouble," he said. "It's calling for mommy."

Nelson is a former bear hunter, so he stood up knowing he only had seconds to spare.

"The mother was coming full speed," he said. "All you could hear was the bush crashing."

No rocks, no sticks — just fists

Soon the bear was in front of Nelson and up on hind legs.

"I had no rocks, no sticks," he said, but he did have a lot of boxing practice.

Nelson tried to swing at the bear but missed, hitting it in the teeth. The bear hit back, scratching Nelson across the chest and face.

Rick Nelson escaped the bear fight with cuts to his face and shoulder. (Provided)

"I knew it would swing first with its left but it would really come with its right, because most bears are right-handed," Nelson said.

So Nelson swung a second time.

Most bears are right-handed.- Rick Nelson

"I had the perfect shot to take. I did an underhand and hit it right in the snout."

That's when the bear's cub let out another squeal and started to move away, Nelson said.

"Now it was the moment of truth. What's this bear going to do? Is it going to follow its cub or is it going to come after me?"

"[The mother bear] turned around and it was snorting blood. It looked at me, and I thought, 'Oh no. Here it comes,'" he said.

"But it just turned back around and walked away like nothing ever happened and followed the cub," Nelson said. "So I really lucked out there."

Nelson told CBC News he's grateful he knew how to throw a punch. "Believe me, when you've got adrenaline pumping, you can hit. Even at 61 with grey hair, you can still hit hard." (Provided)

Black bears 'get a bad rap'

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told CBC News it has not received any reports of bear attacks on people this year.

Black bear attacks are extremely rare according to the ministry, and usually only happen if the bear feels threatened.

Despite his close call, Nelson said he doesn't want people to be afraid of the animal.

"Black bears really aren't dangerous unless you have a cub involved. So sometimes black bears get a really bad rap. Probably they're more afraid of you and [me], than we are of them," he said.

"I'm really glad that the bear walked away. And I'm really glad I did too."

Listen to Nelson tell his story on CBC Sudbury's Morning North.

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A Sudbury man recently found himself face to face with a black bear. Luckily for him, he knew how to throw a punch. Rick nelson told the CBC's Marina von Stackelberg his story.