A Canadian man reportedly used a small pocket knife to thwart a life-threatening grizzly bear attack in a remote part of British Columbia late last month.
Colin Dowler, 45, was mountain biking on a logging road on July 29 near Powell River, about 150 miles north of Vancouver, when he came upon a large male grizzly bear.
“It was pretty freaking scary,” Dowler told CBC.
When the bear approached him, the cyclist took a hiking pole and poked the massive animal on the head to try to keep him away.
Dowler said the grizzly then knocked him to the ground and grabbed him by the stomach and dragged him toward a ditch perhaps 50 feet away.
On the brink of death, a B.C. man who was attacked by a grizzly bear managed to fend off the animal with a pocket knife and bike to safety, despite being bitten several times.
— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) August 2, 2019
The man tried eye-gouging the bear and playing dead, but both tactics did not work.
Dowler’s most vivid memory from the encounter was the sound of the grizzly’s teeth biting his thigh bone.
“It sounded like it was grating my bones,” he said. “I was trying to peel its lips back, or its mouth back and it bit me in the arm.”
The bear then bit his foot and other parts of his body.
That’s when the Canadian remembered that he had a small knife in his pocket his father had given him two weeks before.
“Somehow, I don’t know how I did it. I used both hands to pull underneath the bear to get to that knife, and I grabbed the knife out and opened it and put it in [my] hand and stabbed the bear in his neck,” Dowler said.
“It let go of me immediately. It was bleeding quite badly,” he explained. “I wasn’t really sure if it was dying faster than I was.”
Dowler then cut a piece off one of his shirt sleeves and used it to bandage his badly bleeding leg, as the bear continued to watch him.
He then crawled to his bike, mounted it and managed to bike a little over four miles to a logging camp.
Dowler collapsed outside the worksite’s mess hall and began yelling for help.
Five workers came out and began administering first aid.
“When we saw him, it was shocking and pretty unnerving at first,” Vittorio Giannandrea, the camp cook, told CBC.
“Then we began talking to him, cutting off the clothing on the apparent wounds where blood soaked through everything and just used as many hands, large bandages and other materials to stop the bleeding and cover the wounds.”
A helicopter arrived in 40 minutes and transported to Dowler to a Vancouver hospital.
British Columbian wildlife officers returned to the bloody scene of the attack and ended up putting the grizzly down after it snuck behind one of them. One of the officers confirmed the bear had a stab wound in its neck.
Dowler, who was a day away from his 45th birthday when the bear encounter happened, says he is lucky to be alive.
“I was thinking I’m not going to make it,” he said
His wife, Jennifer, thanked the logging camp workers for their swift action.
“He definitely wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them,” she said. “And I’m just happy my husband is as stubborn as he is.”
Kudos to the outdoor enthusiast for having the presence of mind to remember that knife and put it to good use.
It goes to show, dads should never think their sons are too old to give them a pocket knife: You never know when it will come in handy.
The U.S. National Park Service recommends if you are attacked by a grizzly or brown bear, to play dead by lying flat on your stomach, spreading your legs, and covering your head and neck with your arms. Do not fight back.
This move hopefully will convince the bear you are not a threat, and it will leave you alone.
However, if the attack persists, the NPS advises, “fight back with everything you have!”
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