This man used his physical and social intelligence to fight a black bear

Photo provided to CBC News

When this Sudbury, Ont., man encountered a black bear last weekend, he put his impressive physical and social intelligences to work.

Name: Rick Nelson
Age: 61
Location: Sudbury, Ont.

The story: Nelson accidentally came between a 300-lb black bear and its cub. "The mother was coming full speed," he said. "All you could hear was the bush crashing." Then he was face-to-face with the bear as it stood on her hind legs in front of him.

  • Round 1: Before the bear could strike, Nelson got in first with a right hand jab, bloodying his knuckles as he grazed the bear's teeth.
  • Round 2: The bear struck back, clawing a nasty gash across Nelson’s chest and shoulders.
  • Round 3: Nelson answered with an uppercut to the bear's snout, leaving it bloody. With that, the bear dropped to all fours and backed slowly into the forest with its cub.

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

Intelligences used:

  • Physical — As a former featherweight boxer, Nelson summoned some of his old fighting prowess.
  • Social — Clearly a category of intelligence that extends beyond human interaction. As a former bear hunter, Nelson was quick to recall his knowledge of how bears fight. "I knew it would swing first with its left but it would really come with its right, because most bears are right-handed," he said.

Nelson used his physical and social intelligences to save his life. While black bear attacks are known to be extremely rare, Nelson had a reason to defend himself. "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.

Have you ever used your intelligence to save your life? Or when has your unique intelligence really come in handy? Let us know! Apply to be on Season 3 of Canada’s Smartest Person!

Also on CBC