Man punches a bear in Ontario and walks away alive
Rick Nelson, who spent years as a featherweight boxer, was walking his dog when a cub appeared in his path – followed closely by its 320lb mother
Rick Nelson took on a black bear in the Canadian city of Sudbury.
A 61-year-old man from northern Ontario said he was lucky to walk away with only scratches after facing off against a 320lb black bear with only his fists and the skills gleaned from years of featherweight boxing.
Rick Nelson was walking his dog outside the city of Sudbury on Sunday when a black bear cub poked its head out of a shrub some three feet away from him. “It was so close I could touch it. It let out a yelp, because I scared the heck out of it,” he said.
As his dog barked at the cub, the former bear hunter knew he only had seconds to spare before the cub’s mother would arrive to defend her cub. “I knew right away I was in trouble". “It’s calling for mommy.”
He soon heard a crashing noise in the bushes. “The mother was coming full speed,” he said. “And it came and it meant business.” The bear stood on her hind legs as she eyed him.
Nelson looked around him. He had nothing to fight off the bear – no rocks or sticks – but he had spent a lot of time in the ring perfecting his boxing technique.
As the bear took a swing at him, Nelson responded with a right-hand jab, grazing the bear’s lips and teeth and tearing up his knuckles in the process. The bear struck back, carving inches-long gashes into Nelson’s face and chest.
Nelson readied himself to take another swing at the bear. “I knew it would swing first with its left but it would really come with its right, because most bears are right-handed,” he said.
This time his punch landed exactly as he had hoped. “I did an underhand and hit it right in the snout,” he said. “Believe me, when you’ve got adrenaline pumping, you can hit. Even at 61 with grey hair, you can still hit hard.”
The cub let out another squeal and begin to amble out of the area. “Now it was the moment of truth. What’s this bear going to do? Is it going to follow its cub … or is it going to come back after me?” Nelson said. “To tell you the truth, that was the only time I was afraid … I had no chance, I didn’t stand a prayer. This bear was 320lbs and when it stood up it’s taller than I am.”
He braced himself. “It turned around and it was snorting blood. It looked at me, and I thought, ‘Oh no. Here it comes,’” he said. “It just turned back around and walked away like nothing ever happened and followed the cub. So I really lucked out there.”
He spoke to CBC one day after the attack, telling the broadcaster that, despite his encounter, people have little reason to fear black bears. “Black bears really aren’t dangerous unless you have a cub involved,” he said. “Probably they’re more afraid of you and [me] than we are of them.”
He was quick to acknowledge, however, that his close call could easily have turned out very differently. “I’m really glad that the bear walked away. And I’m really glad I did, too.”