Martin Wolbers and his dog, Papillon, stand with the trusty quad which allowed for their escape from a black bear. Antonia Westwick photo.

Man, dog charged by black bear while repairing fence at B.C. Interior ranch

Martin Wolbers says he’s lucky they got away with his Pyrenees Papillon

A Cariboo ranch hand and his dog were chased and charged by a black bear east of Williams Lake last week.

Martin Wolbers said he and his two-year-old Pyrenees Papillon were taking a break from repairing fences at Westwick Ranch in Miocene when he had a feeling something was watching him from behind.

“I was thinking about my boss Jim Westwick. We lost him five months ago and I’m having a hard time dealing with it. I was sitting on the seat of an old piece of equipment, just having a smoke. When I looked around I saw there was a big black bear looking at us.”

The bear stood up on its hind legs, started making some growling sounds, went down on all fours and charged.

Papillon took off and the bear chased her first.

“Pappy ran in a big loop and then the bear suddenly spun around and headed toward me. It meant business. I’m so skinny I don’t know why she would have been interested in me though.”

Wolbers does not believe in guns, and by the time the bear was 20 feet away he had fired up his Honda ATV and got out of there.

The incident happened at about 11 a.m. in the morning.

There was some sprouting alfalfa in the corner where the bear was, so Wolbers was surprised the bear was interested in him and his dog.

“I was just glad I wasn’t in the bush where it could have snuck up on me. Whether it was a female or male I don’t know.”

It was not the first time Wolbers has been chased by a bear on the ranch.

READ MORE: Problem bear season begins in Cariboo

About 10 years ago he was taking a break eating his lunch when a bear showed up, that he did not think looked “too friendly.”

Again he jumped on his quad and rode until the creek, which he thought he could jump, but when his quad got stuck in the creek, he climbed up a tree.

“I waited up there for a couple of hours, smoked and watched it eat my lunch.”

Jared Connatty with the BC Conservation Officer Service said his office had not received any reports of bear conflicts this season yet.

As for Wolbers experience, Connatty said they don’t hear of that type of behaviour very often with people.

“It would be important to contact us so we can determine what those behaviours are,” he added.

Wolbers is almost 70 and has worked for Westwick Ranch for about 20 years.

He grew up on a dairy farm near Matsqui Flats.

His father was killed in an accident on the farm when Wolbers was 16.

“I found it difficult to stick around so I rode the rails for a while.

As for the name Papillon?

Wolbers said his dog is a great escape artist so he named her after the 1973 movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Potty Mouth artist creating Funky Fungus

Parksville-Qualicum’s Carmen Lutz has people chuckling with her hand-made, rustic mugs

Qualicum Beach charity hosts fundraiser for Guatemalan students

Aldea Maya has been working in the Central American country since 2012

Parksville Lawn Bowling Club on a roll for artificial turf

Project to cost over $500,000 but will save club money

More Parksville pop-up water parks planned

Fire department says Sunday, Aug. 18 next one on the agenda

Hi Neighbour Day celebrates 50th year in Errington

Pancake breakfast, parade, zucchini race and more planned for this years’ festivities

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read