Saskatchewan man determined bear wouldn’t get him

SASKATOON — A bow hunter who survived being mauled by a mother black bear after she pulled him out of a tree says he was determined she wasn’t going to get him.

Jeff Haydukewich was hunting for elk and was staged in a tree near Weirdale, Sask., 190 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, on Labour Day when the mother bear and her three cubs approached his bait pile at the base of his hideout.

His first instinct was to scare the bear away by making noise.

But instead of leaving, the 135-kilogram bear raced up into the tree after him.

“It happened so fast. She came up and grabbed me by my right arm, dragged me to the ground,” said Haydukewich, who was recovering Friday at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon.

“(She) mauled me on the ground. I don’t know for how long.”

He eventually managed to get away and scrambled back up the tree for safety.

But the bear came after him again, grabbed him by the leg and pulled him out of the tree once more.

During the second attack, Haydukewich managed to get his hands on one of his arrows.

“I kept poking her every time she came running at me. She had a hold of my left toe and I was kicking her with my right leg.”

He said one thing was running through his mind.

“I don’t remember being scared. I just remember (thinking), ’I’m not going out like that. Not by a bear. This bear ain’t going to get me.’”

The bear finally ran away after being jabbed with the arrows, but Haydukewich wasn’t in good condition. Among other injuries, a lengthy piece of skin was hanging from his wrist to his elbow.

He managed to drive himself to his brother’s house nearby to get help.

An air ambulance flew him to hospital in Saskatoon.

Haydukewich underwent surgery on Friday morning and was expecting to remain in hospital for at least a few weeks.

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