A 50-year-old man is in hospital after fighting off a grizzly bear with his bare hands near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday.
Jerry Lacerte was walking to a friend’s house near Thorsen Creek at around 8 a.m. when he was attacked by a grizzly bear that was with her two cubs.
“I saw three bears and the mother bear just started attacking me,” Lacerte said.
Lacerte started fighting for his life as the bear lashed out at him, cutting his face and arms.
“I punched her right square in the nose,” he said. “I gave it all I had to get away.”
Thankfully, Lacerte’s final blow was enough to scare off the grizzly and stop the attack.
Lacerte played dead before flagging down a driver in a passing vehicle who drove him straight to the hospital.
He was treated for severe cuts to his face and arms and is expected to be released Saturday.
Lacerte is warning others in the area to be prepared for grizzly bear encounters. Female grizzlies can weigh up to 440 pounds and stand six feet tall.
“Make sure you have bear spray,” Lacerte warns.
Conservation officers said they are investigating the incident.
“Just from the strength and the power of these animals, Jerry is a very lucky individual,” said conservation officer Len Butler. “We all know the size of the grizzlies… it’s definitely life threatening and it could have been for him.”
Butler said they are trying to determine what the motive of the attack was.
“It seems like it was a defensive attack. The bears are in the river right now feeding on the salmon and it sounds like the subject was walking along the highway and got between the sow and the cubs,” Butler said.
“People have to be aware when there are bears in the rivers like that. It is a dangerous situation.”