If you find yourself in a face-to-face confrontation with a black bear, the best thing to do is make yourself as big as possible, get loud and aggressive, and do everything you can to try and scare him away.
Nowhere in any wildlife manual does it say:
“Try and reason with him. Initiate a polite conversation with the bear, explaining to him the error of his ways.”
Well, for 27-year-old Brandon Lattie, that’s exactly what he did.
According to Maple Ridge News, Lattie was lucky to be alive after a black bear tried to drown him in a lake on the outskirts of Prince George, British Columbia, a couple years ago.
He was hiking with a friend just outside of the city when they happened to stumble upon the bear.
“It just happened so quick. He was holding me down, I didn’t really feel anything, there was so much adrenaline, I just wanted to stay alive. After the bear struck me, it was trying to hold me under water.
I immediately thought for sure this is where I’m going to die. This is where my head gets chewed off.”
When they first saw the bear, they took off running (BIG MISTAKE), and shocker… the bear caught up with him in a hurry and chased him into a lake (also, BIG MISTAKE).
With his shoes stuck in the mud of the lake bottom, the bear jumped on his back and began pushing him under the water.
“After it tried to push me under water, I was about a foot from the surface fighting for my life basically and was able to push from the ground back for air, the bear looked startled when I turned around and looked it dead in the face.
I tried talking to it at first saying that ‘you don’t have to do this.’”
It’s like he’s trying to talk him off the ledge.
“You got so much to live for man… I can help you, WE can help you… you don’t have to do this.”
I get it. Adrenaline is pumping, you panic, ignore every single thing you’ve ever learned about bears, but still, you’re in Canada… I would expect a little more familiarity with bears from folks in British Columbia.
Needless to say, the bear was quite unreasonable.
Anyways, moving on…
Lattie somehow managed to outswim the bear for a while, making it all the way to a dock on the other side of the lake, the bear still hot on his tail. When the bear finally caught up with him again, once again pushing him under the water to drown him, the struggle caught the attention of a passerby with her Husky-Shepherd mix, Musket.
When the Musket saw the bear, he began to bark furiously at the bear, scaring him away from Lattie who managed to make it to shore.
How about that for a twist?
Dude somehow swims across the entire lake, who knows how far, running on so much adrenaline he would’ve made Michael Phelps look like a drunk toddler, and then when the bear finally catches up to him, it’s man’s best friend to the rescue.
His hiking friend? Hiding in a bush somewhere, nowhere to be seen. Random dog? The hero in this story. Once again, proving that dogs are better than people.
Lattie escaped with only minor scratches and puncture wounds.
Morale of the story?
Don’t run away from a black bear, don’t try and swim away from a black bear, and sure as shit, don’t try and talk a black bear out of eating you.
Oh, and maybe hike with a dog instead of a person next time.