Man punches bear in the nose in fight for sur­vival dur­ing B.C. beach­comb­ing trip

The Western Star - - Canada -

A Bri­tish Columbia’s man’s re­lax­ing beach­comb­ing trip turned into a har­row­ing fight for sur­vival against a griz­zly bear that flailed him around “like a pup­pet.”

Ran­dal Warnock, 57, said he was walk­ing on Brown Is­land on B.C.’s cen­tral coast for about 15 min­utes Mon­day when a bear sud­denly ap­peared.

“I heard a noise be­hind me, like a crack­ing sound out of the bush, and this bear was charg­ing full bore out of the bush and was on me in a cou­ple of sec­onds,” he said Fri­day.

The bruiser be­gan bit­ing at Warnock’s legs, shred­ding his jeans at the knees, then latch­ing onto his right knee.

“I tried to grab my knife out of my back pocket to hit him in the head or some­thing or fend him off but I dropped my knife be­cause I was be­ing shaken off bal­ance,” Warnock said.

“I thought, ‘fight back, fight back.’ ”I just had to bluff him back and say ‘No, I’m go­ing to put up a fight.’“

That’s when Warnock de­cided to punch the bear in the nose.

“He let go and stood back two feet, just look­ing at my legs. He seemed high on adrenalin. It was like a video on high speed, it was just so amaz­ingly fast,” he said.

“His head was bob­bing around and he looked like he was go­ing to lunge at me. I grabbed a log and was go­ing to throw it at his head but it slipped out and landed be­tween us and then he just turned around and ran off into the bush.”

Warnock, a BC Fer­ries cap­tain who op­er­ates the ves­sel Nimp­k­ish from Bella Colla to Bella Bella, said he’d been steer­ing his fish­ing boat for six hours when he de­cided to leave the rough wa­ters and stretch his legs on the beach.

But what he en­coun­tered left him think­ing: “Is this how it’s go­ing to end?”

When the bear walked away, Warnock said he hob­bled to his skiff to get to his boat, leav­ing be­hind a bloody trail.

He bandaged him­self up on his boat as he headed to­ward the near­est hos­pi­tal in Port Hardy and called the Canadian Coast Guard, which sent a cou­ple of ves­sels that ar­rived two hours later.

Warnock re­ceived 30 stitches, some on his ring fin­ger and his left knee, but most of them were around his right knee.

He said there may be some mi­nor nerve dam­age to his right leg but he feels lucky that the bear was not fully grown.

Warnock later re­mem­bered see­ing a bunch of ea­gles in a tree and thought the bear might have been feed­ing on a dead seal or sea lion and at­tacked him to pro­tect its meal.

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