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

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

These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)
OPINION: Cowichan Valley’s Six Mountains Forest: War or Peace—The Choice is Ours

Icel Dobel writes in favour of protecting Cowichan Valley forests

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Digital Innovation Group supports digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)
Victoria looks to curb waste by turning demolitions into deconstructions

Community drafting bylaw forcing developers to be better at salvage and recycling

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

Most Read