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

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

Island beekeeper wants more responsible pesticide use

Two pesticide events in two months has beekeeper asking Islanders to take care

Tackling ‘one fear after another:’ ‘Spirit Orca’ swimmers ready for next challenge

Vancouver Island swimmers with disabilities preparing for ocean relay in Great Bear Rainforest

Asian business owners face stereotyping

Advocate: contrary to the ill-informed rhetoric, foreign investors saving Island businesses

What’s bugging you? Exterminator talks Island pest control

Dealing with pests in the home this summer and beyond

VIDEO: Father and son unveil reconciliation pole in B.C. on Indigenous Peoples Day

MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, a member of the We Wai Kai Nation on Vancouver Island, was at the event

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read