Bear attack victims saved themselves, neighbour says

Local resident helped Kimberley-area couple make it to safety.

Randy Harvey indicates the field off LD Ranch Road where he saw the victims of Sunday’s bear attack.

Randy Harvey indicates the field off LD Ranch Road where he saw the victims of Sunday’s bear attack.

The neighbour who found a badly injured Kimberley couple after they were attacked by a grizzly bear Sunday says the pair saved themselves.

Well-known conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts Peter Moody and Susan Bond are in stable condition in a Calgary hospital after a grizzly sow mauled them in defence on November 25.

The couple was walking along Cherry Creek off LD Ranch Road east of Kimberley on Sunday afternoon when they stumbled upon a grizzly sow and cubs feeding on a deer, according to conservation officers.

The COs told the Townsman/Bulletin on Monday that Susan yelled at the bears and began to run. Startled, the sow attacked Susan. Peter began beating the bear with a walking stick, which caused the bear to attack him.

Eventually the bears moved away, and the couple were able to get up and started walking to get help.

Randy Harvey, his wife Bonnie and friend Allan Hunter were sitting down to watch the Grey Cup about 2:20 p.m. on Sunday when Allan saw a figure in a field about half a mile from the house.

“I got my binoculars and I’m looking and I saw it was an old man. I said, ‘What’s he doing out there stumbling around?’ He kept falling down so we said we better go look,” said Randy.

Allan ran along LD Ranch Road toward Peter, while Randy drove.

“By the time I got up to him he’d made it to the fence and climbed over the fence,” said Randy.

While Allan called 911, Randy offered to drive Peter to town.

“He was saying, ‘No, no, Susie, Susie,’ and pointing to the field. That’s when I realized there was somebody else out there,” said Randy.

In his pickup truck, Randy drove across in the field in the direction Peter was pointing and found Susan lying on the ground.

“I picked her up and put her in the truck,” said Randy, adding that Susan said they had been attacked by a bear but insisted that no harm come to the bear.

“She kept saying, ‘No, no, it’s not their fault, don’t kill the bears.’ She was totally adamant she didn’t want that bear killed.”

Both Susan and Peter were badly injured, with lacerations to the head, legs and back, Randy said. Susan had fallen into the creek as they were fleeing, so her feet were wet and cold.

While they waited for the ambulance to arrive, Bonnie comforted Susan and Peter.

“We got her boots off and her socks off and tried to warm her up,” said Randy. “We kept talking to them, trying to keep them awake. Bonnie kept holding her hand and talking to her.”

Soon paramedics arrived and took Susan and Peter to Cranbrook. They were rushed to Calgary later Sunday.

Randy said he was struck by the couple’s concern for one another.

“All he was concerned about was Susan. Then when I got her in the truck, all she was saying was, ‘Peter, Peter.’”

Amazed that they were able to walk when they were so badly injured, Randy added that he wasn’t responsible for saving them.

“Everybody keeps calling me a hero,” he said. “They saved themselves totally.”

Conservation officers visited the scene of the attack and determined it was a grizzly with at least one cub, although Peter originally thought it was a black bear with two cubs. The bears have not returned to the area since the attack, and COs have decided not to track them because the sow was exhibiting normal behaviour, defending a kill and her cubs.

However, caution is urged for anyone travelling in the wooded portions of the Cherry Creek/Meadowbrook area. Anyone who sees a sow grizzly with one or two cubs in the area is asked to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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