A woodlot owner near Grand Falls, New Brunswick, says he’s lucky to be alive after a bear attacked him in the woods.
Gilles Cyr was out for a walk through his woodlot when suddenly a large black object ran out of the woods and attacked him, reports the CBC and Postmedia News.
To prevent the bear from killing him, Cyr grabbed its tongue in a desperate bid for survival.
“When I opened up my eyes it was on top of me—with the friggin’ noise, it’s crazy the way it growls. Right from the stomach. It’s not from the mouth, it’s just inside,” said Cyr.
“His mouth was wide open right in front of my face so the last thing I remember I had his tongue in my hand and I didn’t want to let go because he was trying to fight me off. So he was hitting me with his claws, so I says, ‘If you’re going to hurt me, I’m going to hurt you too.’ So he was biting his tongue at the same time.”
Cyr said grabbing the bear’s tongue was out of instinct.
“For a second, I thought I was dead … that’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you open your eyes and see that friggin’ mouth full of teeth and a tongue in there. It’s like … an extreme sport,” he said with a chuckle.
Cyr said he managed to escape behind a tree.
The bear still managed to claw his stomach and bit his knee. The animal eventually lost interest and decided to walk away.
He was treated for superficial wounds at the hospital.
Cyr said that a warden told him he has permission to track down the bear and kill it as a nuisance animal—however an official with Natural Resources said Cyr may require a permit.
This is not the first near miss with a black bear in New Brunswick.
In August a forestry worker was chased and attacked while working in the woods near Oromocto Lake. Pierre Mezzetta of Fredericton required some stitches and a night in hospital following the attack.
In July a black bear chased a Fredericton man into his home. He was not injured but the bear made off with his garbage.
The province’s black bear population has jumped to 17,000, up from about 12,000 eight years ago.
A provincial biologist said one reason for the rise in the bear population is because of a drop in hunting.
Thirty-five years ago, New Brunswick sold more than 12,500 bear hunting licenses. Last year, it sold barely more than 5,000.
It’s important to be informed about bears and what to do when you come into contact with them.
Bears are not tame, gentle, or cuddly; they are unpredictable and potentially dangerous.
A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear
Don’t be a contributor to food-conditioning.
Once a bear is food-trained, it is often impossible to un-train them. That is why wildlife experts often say a fed bear is a dead bear. Having a bear wreck your campsite is not only bad for you, but potentially deadly for the bear.
Bears that scavenge for food begin to associate food with humans, and become food-conditioned. Food-conditioned bears lose their natural fear of humans and become a threat to campers as they roam through the area in search of an easy meal.
There is little or no chance of correcting a food-conditioned bear; Park Rangers are forced to destroy them when they become aggressive towards humans.
Proper food storage and clean camping techniques are important to avoiding an encounter with a bear.
When walking in the woods, be alert, make noise, and carry bear repellent pepper spray and keep it handy.
When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it; the deer hears it, and the bear smells it.
—old Native American saying