A local jogger had a close shave with death after a black bear thought he was lunch. The animal charged him without prompt, forcing him to hide up a tree too small for the massive bear to climb. These B.C. bear attacks are rare but not unheard of, and luckily a neighbour with bear spray and a machete came to save him after hours stuck in the tree.
Francis Levasseur was out for another morning jog over the Victoria Day long weekend taking a secluded trail in Hills, B.C. That's when he encountered a black bear on the trail ahead, according to the Slocan Valley Bear Smart Program.
He yelled and waved a stick around, but it did nothing to stop the large bear from charging him head-on. Levasseur very narrowly escaped by climbing up a tree — one they say was too small for the big bear to climb.
The animal pretended to leave and Levasseur climbed down only to be chased right back up again. He clung to the tree for two hours as it slowly turned to night.
Fortunately, before the jogger lost his strength, his cries were heard by passerby Mat Phillips, who also happened to be head of the Hills Emergency Services Society (HESS).
"I am so grateful to Mr. Phillips for rescuing me. I could have died. I will never go out in the bush again without bear spray," said Levasseur in the release.
According to the province, if you encounter a bear you should not run or climb a tree. It's best to speak quietly to them and back away slowly.
Phillips sprung into action, grabbing his machete, bear spray, and dog, and rescued the stranded jogger. They drove home safely.
Phillips said he reported the incident to the RCMP and Conservation Officer Service, but the officers weren't able to make it until morning. When they finally arrived on the scene, the bear was gone.
After investigating, experts agreed the bear was attacking Levasseur as a predator, according to the release from the Slocan Valley Bear Smart Program — meaning it actively wanted to eat the man.
Apparently, this is incredibly rare; in North America, only 56 people have been killed by black bears like this since 1900, it goes on to say.
Normally, black bears turn vegetarian during the spring and live off grasses and horsetail, the release specifies.
But if you're unfortunate enough to encounter a black bear that actively wants to eat you, they say some red pepper spray will be enough to keep it away.