Alberta Man Saves Son From Bear With Stick

Daily Herald, Bear Hunting Magazine
06/12/2009

A bear attack near Grande Cache that hospitalized one man could have been deadly if it were not for a brave 78-year-old and his walking stick, a friend said.

Tom Wanyandie and his son James, who is in his 30s, were looking for moose antlers between 7:30 and 8:30pm near an oil and gas service road when they came up over a ridge and came face to face with what they believe was a grizzly.

The aggressive sow began attacking James, then turned its attention to Tom.

Tom had a walking stick and he jammed it down the bears throat, said Bazil Leonard, who has known the family for more than 30 years.

When he did that, (the bear) left him and went after James. He took the walking stick and beat (the bear) on the nose and head until it left. Its not the kind of reaction most people would expect from someone who is nearly 80 years old, Leonard quickly added.

Tom is not your average 78-year-old, he said.
James, who is an artist and uses the moose antlers for his work, had a gun on him for protection.

He fired a shot at the bear, but it did not hit the animal. James had taken the brunt of the attack after being thrown around like he was a pillow or something, Leonard said. But the pair managed to get into their vehicle and drive to a Grande Cache hospital.

Tom was released, but James was transferred to the QEII Hospital in Grande Prairie where he is being treated for his injuries.

The bear does not present a threat to the general public and likely will not be tracked down, said a spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. Dave Ealey said the men unknowingly came between a mother bear and her cubs. Warning signs have been placed in the area where the attack occurred, and oilfield workers in the region have been alerted.



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