Bear Attacks

bear danger sign


  • Perhaps the best example of bear-human interaction is a 6+ minute video entitled MAN vs BEAR COMPILATION. Google it!


Many individuals are attacked by wild animals (especially bears). Some of these go unreported while others are widely reported. Bears are becoming less fearful of humans and may consider us food. In parts of North America where Cougars (Mountain Lions, Puma) are large, dangerous predators, I would refer to this defensive hiking stick as The Cougar Stick.

As humans we must remember : All bears are NOT Winnie-the-Pooh!


Bear quote of the day:  “What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless.”  –  Bill Bryson, A walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.


The following sign was posted on the side entrance of the 0-100 Motel in Marathon, Ontario on August 22, 2015.

Please Make Sure That When Closing The Door, The Rug Is Not in The Way of It And Please Make Sure You Pull It In And Make Sure It Is Shut.  We Have Had Some Issues With Bears And Do Not Want Them Entering The Building.  THANK YOU                                                                


Letter to the editor: Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay, Ontario April 10, 2017

The end result of bear whistles

Soon, nature’s wake-up call will arouse bears from their winter’s hibernation.     I went to see an old trapper, a competent and quick-witted woodsman and outdoor survivalist known locally as the Les Stroud of the North.   I had often pondered: Do bear whistles really work?   “Sonny boy,” he says (he likes to call me Sonny boy), “I’ve lived to be 80 years old, and I can tell you from personal experience that bear whistles are 99.9 percent effective.”  ” The only exception is a rogue bear. Fortunately, up here in Ontario’s Great North hinterland, we don’t need to be too concerned about rogue bears in our local area because they are readily identifiable by their poo.”   Planning a few hikes of my own in nature’s cathedral this spring I asked “What’s so distinctive about their poo?”  “Sonny boy, ” he says “It’s the one with all the bear whistles in it.”    Lorenzo Mascotto, Geraldton, Ontario


Below are a number of attacks: (Apparently for every one report of a bear/cougar attack 6-8 go unreported)

  1. May 25th, 2017  Check out the video bow hunter Richard Wesley made of a charging black. Wesley, from Hearst, Ontario was attacked and knocked down by the bear. His frightening video show how quickly bears can attack.
  2. May 22, 2017   Bear attacks man in Squamish B.C.

A Sunday afternoon hike turned into a nightmare for a man after he was attacked by a mother bear in Merril Park near Squamish B.C The man was walking with a woman when he was suddenly attacked. It could have been much worse as the man only suffered minor scratches. The attack was quickly over and the mother and cub wandered off. This attack was typical of many attacks – unexpected and the hiker was without any form of defence. My feelings are that a Bear Stick (instantly available) would have kept the bear four feet away.

3. Terrace Bay, Ontario  September 7, 2016.  Ontario Provincial Police responded to a report of a female bear and two cubs entering the kitchen of a local restaurant. The bears had entered an open rear door of the occupied restaurant and were creating havoc. Customers were evacuated and OPP had to dispatch the adult female. The bear cubs were captured and located to a bear sanctuary. Gives another version of “takeout food!”

4.   Cochrane, Alberta, July 19, 2016. A 25 year old woman is in non-life-threatening condition after being attacked by a bear near the Trapper’s Hill campground. The owner of the campground Richard Blair said his son Coleman was passing and saw two people running from a grizzly bear.

The bear had grabbed the woman and was dragging her away. He raced down the hill toward the bear hollering as he ran. The female bear, with two cubs nearby, dropped the woman and wandered away.

The woman was transported to hospital by air ambulance. Richard Blair said he was proud of his son’s quick action. (Thank goodness the bear decided to not continue the original attack or to attack his son!)

4.  Schreiber, Ontario. July 5, 2016.  Rick Nelson, 61, was walking in the wilderness with his dog Maggie when he was attacked by a large female bear with a cub. He had just sat down and tied his dog to a tree when a bear cub came out of a nearby thicket.

The female bear charged out of the bushes nearby and Rick was trapped by a cliff behind him. All he could do was to face the charging animal. What followed was virtual boxing match. Nelson, who had boxed in his youth, managed two direct hits and the bear countered with two savage claw strikes to his face and left arm and shoulder. Before any further damage the cub called out and the mother bear turned and walked away.

Rick summarized the encounter by saying “….. I was protecting my dog, she was protecting her cub.”

5. Boise, Idaho  October 9, 2015   A hunter in the Idaho wilderness woke up when he felt something tugging on his hair. Then he felt the black bear breathing! Steven Vouch, 29, reached behind his head and yelled when he  felt the bear biting at his head. The startled bear became entangled in the tent they were in and tried to escape.

One of his fellow hunters shot and wounded the bear and they later tracked it down and shot it. They patched Steven up and several days later he received further medical treatment.

It’s the second time this year someone sleeping outdoors in Idaho has been attacked by a black bear. In early September,  state officials trapped and killed a black bear near McCall in west central Idaho that bit a sleeping firefighter who had been battling blazes in the region.

6. Sudbury, Ontario  August 12, 2015

Bear Problems in Sudbury has prompted City Council to call for action.

  • City councillors have been flooded with complaints from fearful citizens.
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry spokesperson said two bear technicians are on call each day from 6 am to 8 pm.
  • The council discussed hiring private contractors to trap bears.
  • One councillor said people “are being held hostage in their homes.”

7. Matheson, Ontario July 25, 2015.   A 60 year old woman had to be treated in hospital after being attacked by a black bear on Friday, July 25th. The attack occurred on a cottage road approximately 80 kilometres from Timmins, Ontario. Ontario Provincial Police say two women were walking when they were attacked. One women was mauled and was later treated at a hospital in Matheson.

The OPP say officers located the bear and killed the animal because it displayed aggressive tendencies toward them.

8. Saturday, May 9, 2015:  a 27 year old man from Mackenzie B.C. was attacked and killed by a black bear while camping with his fiancee. Daniel Ward Folland O’Connor went to sleep near a fire pit at his campsite while his fiancee was sleeping in their motorhome. When she got up in the morning he was missing. She left to get his father and they returned and found him dead. The RCMP and conservation officers confirmed that he had been killed by a bear. They discovered a large black bear nearby and shot it. Conservation authorities stated that this is the season when bears are out and hungry and people need to be “bear aware.”

9.  October 20, 2014.  Teslin, Yukon.  The grizzly bear that killed 42 year old Claudia Huber came into her house through a window, then pursued Huber and her spouse when they ran outside.

The 170 kg grizzly (about the size of many black bears) came onto their property around 11 am on Saturday, alerting the family dog. Huber was attacked and badly mauled afer she and her spouse, Matthias Liniger, had run outside.  Liniger shot and killed the bear and drove Claudia 50 kms to the Health Centre in Teslin where she was pronounced dead.

10.  July 4, 2014.  A 29 year old Sioux Lookout, Ontario man is lucky to be alive. The man, who had been sleeping near the railway tracks in the downtown area, was being dragged into nearby bushes by a large black bear when three witness drove the bear off with rocks. They were amazed at how easily the bear, estimated at 400 pounds,  was able to lift and carry the victim. The lucky survivor was released from hospital the next day. “We’ve been chasing bears around town for the past few weeks,” commented OPP Sgt. Kevin Young.

11.  On May 21, 2014 an 8 year old black Labrador Retriever named Toby is credited with saving the life of his master’s son , Chris Wacker of Evergreen Township, Minnesota.  Toby put himself in the way of the charge of a 300 pound black bear and was savagely mauled. He died several days later.  Chris was out mushroom picking near his home when the attack occurred.  John, Chris’ father feels the bear would have killed his son if it were not for Toby’s defensive action. John says he plans to put a concrete marker over Toby’s grave that reads, “Here lies Toby, the dog who saved my son.”

12.  May 7th, 2014  Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.  A 36 year old female Suncor worker, Lorna Weafer, died after being attacked by a black bear.  Seven co-workers witnessed the attack but were unable to intervene or their efforts were in vain. The large male bear, still in the area, was shot and killed by the RCMP.  I would like to think that if any of the workers had a Bear Stick they could have saved Lorna.

13.  THEY LIVED TO TELL THE TALE: Star of Courage for fighting off bear. This was the headline of the April 23, 2014 article in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal  ( describing a horrendous bear attack. The article goes on to tell in chilling detail the bear attack on 24 year old wildlife technician Laura Darby and her rescue by fellow worker Dan Morrison. They were working in the bush 100 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario on October 4, 2011.

The bear charged her and began mauling her while she tried to defend herself with her clipboard and a walkie talkie as Dan rushed the 400 metres through the bush to her rescue. He was unable to use his bear spray because he was too close, so instead he used his hunting knife to keep the bear from further mauling Laura. After almost an hour the bear stopped and wandered off. Laura was transported to hospital by helicopter and lost “most of her blood” in the two hours of the ordeal. She required 7 hours of surgery and 800 surgical staples to close her wounds!  If Dan had not been there Laura would not have made it out alive.

Dan was awarded the Governor General’s Award of Bravery in Ottawa on April 24th, 2014.  🙂


14.   Trevor Miller. 42, was sitting on a picnic table while out walking his two small dogs in Sandbar Provincial Park near Ignace, Ontario. He was violently attack from behind by a large adult bear. He retreated into a nearby lake and began a lengthy stand-off with the bear. He eventually left the lake but was pursued by the bear and continually threatened. He made it to a camp ranger station but not before one of his dogs was killed and carried off by the animal. The bear was captured and destroyed.  (Sunday August 4, 2013)

15.   Mather Dyer was sleeping in his tent on July 28, 2013 in Labrador. He was dragged out and mauled by a polar bear. His companions drove the bear off by firing flares. He suffered a broken jaw and neck injuries.

16.   On July 11, 2013 Elias Hart was walking on a trail in Mission, British Columbia. A bear jumped out of the bush in front of him and knocked him down. Mr. Hart scrambled over a nearby fence with the bear in pursuit. Luckily the trail was beside a busy city street. Motorists driving by stopped and sounded their horns which frightened the bear off. Elias was treated for minor scrapes and lacerations and considers himself lucky that he was close to the road and not in a more isolated part of the trail. Conservation officers eventually found and destroyed the bear.

17.  Rob Foster has been a biologist for over 30 years. On June 11, 2013 Rob had a violent encounter with a predatory black bear while doing field work in the bush west of Timmins, Ontario. Rob has run into lots of bears but this was the first encounter that lasted close to an hour before he got back to his truck. Luckily his bear spray kept the bear from mauling him as he “danced” from tree to tree.

18.  Joe Azouger is very lucky to be alive. He was rescued by two women who drove by and honked their horn and drove off a bear who was killing him.  Joe was sitting on the deck of his cabin with his German Shepherd in the bush near Cochrane, Ontario ( May 12, 2013)  A large black bear charged out of the bush and he retreated into the cabin.  The bear killed his dog and then proceeded to break through the bedroom window into the cabin. He fled and ran toward the road nearby. He was hauled down into the ditch and the bear started to maul his head and upper body. His rescuers drove off the bear and rescued him.  He was rushed to a nearby hospital and received treatment, including over 300 stiches for his wounds.  Joe is thankful to be alive. The bear would have eaten him if he had not been rescued.

19.  On May 22, 2012 Gord Shurvell was sitting on the throne (an outhouse) enjoying the morning view when a large black bear grabbed him by the ankles and began dragging him into the bush. The bear started mauling him and he was screaming loudly for his friend Danny who was in the cabin. Danny grabbed a rifle and followed the bear and Gord into the bush and shot and killed the bear. Gord was rushed to the Sioux Lookout, Ontario hospital and was treated for lacerations and bites to his head, back and torso.

20.   MAN SPEARS COUGAR AFTER IT ATTACKS HIS SPOUSE NEAR TOFINO, B.C. This was the headline on September 9th, 2013.  A 60 year old woman was attacked from behind while gardening. Her spouse drove the animal off with a spear (a Cougar Stick?). The woman was airlfted to a hospital in Victoria, B.C. for surgery. Conservation officers found the cougar dead in the bush about 20 metres from the attack.

21.  The National Geographic News ( intheir August 19, 2013 issue had a lead article entitled: “Maulings by Bears: What’s Behind the Recent Attacks?” It’s worth reading by any hiker.

NOTE:  Arguably the worst black bear attack in North American history:  I remember the reports of the infamous bear attack in Algonquin Park (Ontario, Canada) in the spring of 1978. Mark Halfkeny (12), along with brothers Billy (15) and George Rhindress (16) were attacked, killed and partially eaten by a predatory black bear while they were fishing in the park.