Cranbrook man Jake Blackmore was released from Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie on Monday, October 2 after being attacked by a grizzly bear while hunting elk on September 30.
“I’m the luckiest most blessed hunter and dad in the world and can’t wait to get back out there and chase some more bulls around,” said Blackmore on a Facebook post on September 30.
On October 1, Blackmore posted that he’d been asked numerous times to share his story about the bear encounter and so he described the harrowing event in detail in a status update.
He and his hunting partner, his 16-year-old son Jeron, were hunting elk along the Elk River when they spotted a bull. Jeron moved ahead while Blackmore watched the animal through his binoculars. That’s when he heard a noise to his left.
“I turned my head just in time to see a mama [grizzly] bear coming at me at full speed,” he wrote.
“In less than two seconds she football tackled me and knocked me flying about 30 feet. She was right on top of me tossing me around like a rag doll.”
Blackmore added that even after the attack he is still so amazed by the stealth, speed and power of grizzly bears. With the bear on top of him, Blackmore yelled at her and the bear released him, but not before sinking her teeth into his left leg and shaking him.
Astoundingly the bear’s teeth penetrated his leg on either side of his main artery, neither puncturing, nor damaging it.
After dropping Blackmore, the bear turned and bit her cub; Blackmore believes she did this to send the cub away to safety.
“It went off crying out in panic,” Blackmore wrote. “I’m sure it was just as confused as I was as to why momma bear was in such a nasty mood.”
He said that this brief pause gave him a precious window of time to ready his rifle.
“In all the craziness I got my last bullet ready to fire as she came towards me, mouth open roaring just like in the cool bear movies,” he said, demonstrating a remarkable sense of humour about the encounter.
Blackmore was up against a fallen log with his gun in hand, ready to fire from his hip. With the mother grizzly coming at him, Blackmore squeezed off a shot when she was just about eight feet away from him, aiming for her gaping mouth. He missed and just grazed her face, which spun her around and sent her off following the direction her cub had gone.
His son, who was off trying to get the bull elk, came running back after he heard the yelling and his dad’s gunshot. Blackmore apologized for ruining his hunt. Jeron said to him, “well you can check that one off your bucket list.”
Blackmore tied his jacket around his leg, which was bleeding profusely. They called a friend who lived nearby and they were on their way to the Fernie hospital within ten minutes.
“I know we were super lucky, blessed or whatever you want to call it. It could have been so much worse.”
Blackmore has agreed to an interview with the Townsman and he hopes that his experience will teach others about grizzly safety.