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Colin Dowler want to go on an adventure for his 45th birthday, for this reason in July, he made decision to scout out a course up Canada’s Mount Doogie Dowler, a distinctive, 7,000-foot peak as jagged as houndstooth overlooking Heriot Bay that is called for his grandfather, a longtime save owner and also postmaster in the area. Colin boated from Quadra Island to a logging camp ~ above the coast of mainland brothers Columbia, listed below the peak. Native the camp, he biked his means up the remote two-track logging road as much as he could and also bushwhacked partway increase the mountain, whereby he spent the night in the wild.

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The hike was uneventful, and he do it earlier to his cycle the next day, all set for an easy ride earlier to his boat. Less than a mile later, Colin was standing face to face with a grizzly.

Here’s his story, together told come Outside.


Outside Podcast: The Wrong method to Fight turn off a Bear

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As quickly as I acquired out that the bush and onto my mountain bike, I was ~ above the residence stretch. I was excited about celebrating mine birthday as soon as I acquired back.

Peddling away, ns came roughly a bend, and there was a grizzly bear, about a hundred feet in prior of me. So I stopped and said, “Hey bear,” since that’s what girlfriend do as soon as you view one.

He looked right into the bush, looked earlier up the road, and also started walking mine way. I preserved talking to him. I made decision not come turn around to obtain out that there, yet in hindsight, perhaps I have to have. 

The grizzly was pretty close, and my bear spray to be gone. It fell out of my backpack somewhere on the mountain. So I got one of my hiking poles and also extended that to use as some kind of deterrent. Ns was still straddling my bike in the hopes that the be afflicted with would simply step turn off the trail.

It’s a logging road, therefore it to be basically 2 tire marks v a bang in the middle. He ongoing to saunter increase the road toward me but stayed in his lane. He ended up gaining pretty close, probably 20 feet away. That made me nervous the he hadn’t left yet.

I stepped off my bike, and also he sort of shuddered, prefer he was a little bit jumpy in that moment. He retained approaching until his head to be parallel v my former tire, and as he walked past, he dipped his head down. We made a tiny bit that eye contact, and also I looked away, due to the fact that eye call didn’t yes, really seem favor something I want to do.

I remember reasoning as he was walking by, Man, this would be cool come video. I’d have footage that a be afflicted with walking just clean by me and also carrying ~ above his way. 

He kept walking by until his rump was nearly past my rear tire. And also then the did a 180-degree turn.

I turn around, standing through my hill bike between us. He shuddered again and also started walking toward me. I began backing up and also talking to him again. I was just trying come speak unique to the bear in wishes that that would change his mind.

I hosted out my hiking pole as he approached. I ended up poking him best in the peak of the head. The pushed into it, go a flip relocate with his head that rolled off the pole, and also got his mouth onto it. We had actually a tug-of-war, till he let walk of it and also started close up door in on me again.

I dropped the pole and kept backing up. I flung my backpack in between us, hopeful that some food in among the external pockets would keep him busy for a bit. He stopped and also took a quick sniff, but after maybe fifty percent a second, he was coming toward me again.

Then he started doing an extremely slow, intentional swats in ~ my bike. The very first one to be pretty mild, however then lock got an ext powerful. As he swatted, ns threw my bike at him, and he acquired briefly hung up on it, yet then he lunged forward and got me in between my ribs and my left hip.

That’s when it really sank in—I was in trouble.

He picked me up by my side. It was painful and hot and also weird. He brought me that way for around 50 feet. I remember reasoning that if he brought me right into the bush, i was a goner for sure.

He obtained me come the edge of the road and started to resolve in on my abdomen, shaking me a little bit together he chewed. In my head, I assumed of law something native the movies, favor gouging his eyes and hanging on. The eye punctured lasted about as lengthy as the snap that a finger. Ns don’t really understand what occurred after that, however my guess: v is that he no like obtaining poked in the eye, for this reason he shook me.

That spun me 180 degrees, so mine legs were in the ditch and also my top body on the road. He began chewing on my left thigh. He would certainly bite and also stop and bite. I might see his huge yellow teeth and his drool. I stuck mine thumbs in his cheeks, gouging in and also trying come peel his mouth off. I don’t think he liked that, for this reason he little bit my hand.

I tried come play dead, yet I couldn’t, because he would certainly bite in and also I’d start screaming again. The grating sound while the chewed ~ above my foot was like a dog chewing top top a bone.

I wondered how every one of this was going to end: Is that going to eat me alive, or is that going to carry out so much damage that i’m going to slowly die? Then ns remembered that I had actually a knife.

It to be the knife mine dad offered me. I think the knife to be the an initial random gift he’s offered me in my adult life. Ns think they were 70 or 75 percent turn off at Canadian Tire. 

I crawled my fingers into my pocket and popped open my little knife—a two-and-three-quarter-inch blade—and then slide it under the bear’s chest. Unbeknownst come me, ns learned later, I had left a good-sized gash there.

Then I offered a really an excellent heave and also stabbed his neck. He immediately stopped biting. A large gush that blood come out that him. I had actually a surge of adrenaline, and also I said, “Now you bleeding, too, bear!”

He got off me and also walked under the middle of the road. I remember gift disappointed the he moved too much for me to stab that a entirety bunch of times. Then he pooped, at least twice, and also peed. It to be clear that was suffering some trauma, too. The walked down the road and past me around 50 feet, to whereby he originally came out of the bush.

I was thinking, I’m dying, he is dying, and also I don’t have much time here.

I provided my knife to reduced my shirt off to do a tourniquet. It felt choose my garments were bunched up on my leg as I tried to pull the tourniquet up—but the was the meat sticking out of my flesh. The was quite disturbing. Finally, I pulled the tourniquet up past all that and also cinched the down. 

I’m pretty certain at this suggest that the bear to be gone. So I skidded on my target to my bike and got on, which to be a huge struggle. I tried to take off however fell over. The was quite scary. Ns was informing myself the I had actually to obtain it right, due to the fact that it to be my critical chance.

Going down the road, I supplied my right pedal come push and also my left leg together a load to balance. I had actually to placed a small force on it a few times to get my ideal pedal ago up. I coasted as lot as ns could.

It was an initiative of endurance, and I dug down deep. Together I rode back, ns thought, I could be an amputee once this is every over, yet I’m still gonna shot to do it.

Finally, ns made it to the logging camp, whereby the crew called in an waiting ambulance. That conserved my life.

I assumed the bear might have been little and mangy. But when conservation officers captured him a few days later, they said he was a large, healthy and balanced four- or five-year-old grizzly. He play cat and also mouse with them, too. The sergeant told me that, indigenous the description of mine attack and the method that be affected by each other behaved as soon as they were in search of him, the believes it was a predatory attack, i m sorry is rare for grizzly bears.

There to be a substantial gaping wound on my left leg. I’ve definitely got some nerve damage and have shed some muscle. It may take a couple years to figure out where I’m walk to finish up.

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I don’t know if i should have done something different. Must I have actually dropped my bike and backed away, or would leaving mine bike over there have motivated him to pursue me? must I have acquired on my bike and tried come ride away, or walk that obtain him to begin chasing me down?

I’m not certain that over there is a right answer. I simply know that I got mauled. I’ve obtained a emotion that my solo trips into grizzly nation are behind me, relying on what my mam says.