Fort St. James man survives bear attack

It was a day of surprises for Randy Rawluk of Fort St. James

Randy Rawluk

It was a beautiful day in Hazelton BC when Randy Rawluk, 64, of Fort St. James got the surprise of his life.

Rawluk and his brother-in-law Ray Sturney and wife Maureen Sargent decided to go for a nature walk. The trail they hiked wraps around the Skeena River just before the Four Mile bridge – a known well-used trail in Hazelton. Little did they know that on this particular day on that particular trail awaited a near-death surprise.

“My dog was up ahead on the trail and suddenly came running back full speed with a bear right on her butt. Ray let out a yell and I let out a yell which did take the focus off the dog..but now the bear was just a meter away from me and went on its hind legs. He slapped me with his claws and then bit me on my arm,” Rawluk said, as he rolled up his sleeve to reveal large claw and teeth marks.

The three screamed louder, frighting the bear which then took off quickly, Rawluk said.

“It went from a predatory attack on Zoey to seeing us and becoming defensive. The one bite mark was pretty deep but the claw marks are the most painful because their big scratches. In Fort St. James I hike up Mount Pope about three days a week in the summer and this was still the closest encounter I’ve ever had with a bear,” Rawluk said.

A trip to the hospital verified Rawluk did not sustain any permanent injuries or need any stitches.

No person or dog was injured from the incident.

“I didn’t even have time to be scared, it happened so fast. When it was all over I had so much adrenaline,” Rawluk said.

The next day a conservation officer questioned the group on where they saw the bear. After investigating the area, the conservationist found that the bear’s den was directly underneath a popular spot on the trail which has now been closed until authorities figure out what to do, Rawluk said.

“He was an average size bear but looked big when he was chewing on my arm,” Rawluk joked.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single vehicle rollover on Highway 16 claims life of young woman, seriously injures another

The single vehicle incident occurred at Highway 16 and Hillcrest Way

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

151,000 salmon detected this year north of site

Most Read