A mountain biker has spoken out about about the terrifying moment he defended himself against a grizzly bear attack using a pen knife.
Colin Dowler is currently undergoing extensive treatment at Vancouver General Hospital and is lucky to have survived his ordeal.
Dowler had been mountain biking in a remote area of British Columbia, around 300km (185 miles) north of Vancouver when he was attacked by the 350lb grizzly. He and his brother had been attempting to scale Mount Doogie Dowler, a mountain named after their grandfather.
Dowler had taken pepper spray with him in his front pocket, however he’d lost it at some point along his journey. He spent the night in woods, before heading back the following day, cycling back down a logging road.
It was at this point he turned a corner and spotted a huge grizzly bear. As reported by the BBC, Dowler was approximately 100ft (30 metres) away from the enormous animal.
According to the Campbell River Mirror Dowler said:
I wasn’t sure what to do, I just started having a conversation with the bear.
As strange as it may seem, having a conversation with a bear is actually a known tactic to keep a bear calm. Dowler also chucked his backpack on the ground to distract the animal. However, these tactics didn’t dissuade the bear from pursuing him.
Dowler then tried to prod the bear with a pole, telling the Campbell River Mirror:
It was just to try to hold him at a distance and let him know that, I don’t know, that I’m here. It just seemed like a way to hold the bear back and that it might make him think twice.
The bear bit the pole, and the situation escalated. The bear stepped over the bike before biting into Dowler’s left flank, carrying him to the side of the road about 50 feet away. Then, as described by Dowler, the bear began ‘chewing’ on his abdomen.
Dowler could even ‘hear the teeth’ on his bone as the bear chewed his flesh, but he wasn’t about to give up the fight. After trying to gouge out the bear’s eyes, he reached for his pocket knife and stabbed it into the bear’s neck, drawing blood.
After getting the bear to back off, Dowler managed to stagger to his bike, pedalling a full 4.5 miles (7km) towards a logging camp. Before collapsing, he was able to tell workers ‘help, I’ve been mauled by a grizzly bear’.
Speaking about the psychological effects the attack has had on him, Dowler said, ‘I am not in a rush to go into grizzly country alone, that’s for sure’.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.