Bear stories: Charged by a grizzly sow in Jasper
If you are mountain biking in the rockies, hear a growl and turn your head to see a charging grizzly sow, this is what it might look like:This photo is a screen grab from the footage shot by the helmet cam of Brad Paras as he was riding in Jasper.Brad explains:
While mountain biking in Jasper, Alberta on August 4, 2013, my cousin Dan and I were charged by a grizzly sow three times.We were riding single track just outside of Jasper town-site (9c) when the encounter occurred. I rode to the top of a hill and applied the brakes to wait for Dan and plan my descent. My brakes squealed a bit, then I heard a growl and looked to my right to see a grizzly bear charging at me.After careening down the hill a bit on my bike, I was able to distance myself from the bear. According to Dan, who was subsequently charged, the sow stopped on the trail where I had been standing.When Dan arrived on the scene, he created a distraction, which drew the bear to him. He managed to grab the bear spray from his bag in time to brace himself, but the bear stopped approximately 10 meters from him - just outside the spray's effective range. Frankly, I'm glad we didn't have to injure the mother in any way.Meanwhile, I worked my way along the bottom of the gully toward Dan so that I wasn't alone in the rough bush. As I reached him, the sow and her cub charged toward us slightly once more before heading away in the direction that we had come from.We waited a few minutes, then walked away from the scene along the trail with bear spray in hand.
Here is the full video.Brad and Dan did well to stay calm. I know the look that one cousin gives another at minute 3:03--a moment they will not forget.This was clearly a defensive attack by the bear. She wanted them to go away and they did.It's hard to stay calm when you are involved in a bear encounter and easy to criticize actions in retrospect (I'm referring to some of the comments underneath the video). I understand the impulse. For a long time, I was obsessed with finding out what went wrong in the bear attacks I heard about. Maybe I thought that if I didn't repeat the mistakes, I would be safe.But, life is filled with risk, isn't it? The chance of the getting hurt by a bear is small, while the risk of missing out on life because you are worried about a bear is huge. I hope Brad keeps riding.Thanks for sharing your bear story, Brad.