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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two overdose deaths in Nelson over the weekend

Police warn that much of the current drug supply in the city may be dangerous

Leafs beat Nitehawks for 8th straight win

The win gives Nelson a provisional division lead

Castlegar march ensures missing, murdered aboriginal women not forgotten

About 60 people took part in the Valentine’s day memorial

Jenner scored 2 in debut as Leafs beat Thunder Cats

Nelson is on a seven-game winning streak

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP award

Leonard scored 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead Team LeBron to a 157-155 victory

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citizenship, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

Most Read