Two B.C. hunters give thanks, donation, to teams who saved them from grizzly | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Two B.C. hunters give thanks, donation, to teams who saved them from grizzly

February 26, 2016 - 9:58 AM

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Two hunters from northern British Columbia have finally met the military search and rescue crew that airlifted them to hospital after a grizzly bear nearly killed them.

Robbie Austin and Chris Eyre were attacked about 200 kilometres southwest of Fort Nelson last September, and they credit CFB Comox members, conservation officers and paramedics for helping them survive.

Eyre and Austin travelled to Kamloops this week to meet some of the military crew.

"Words can't express what I feel to those guys," Austin said as he held back tears.

With the help of friends in the Peace River District, the two men have raised $33,100 for search and rescue in Prince George.

"We're going to try to keep the money as local as possible," Eyre said.

Neither man has been hunting since the attack, but they both intend to get back into the bush as their emotional scars heal.

It's the physical scars that will remain for a lifetime.

"The scar (on my neck), part of it is from surgery, but there's a hooked shape in the scar and that's from the bear's tooth, where it hit my carotid artery," Austin said. "It caused a blood clot to go up into my brain and give me a stroke."

Eyre and Austin were in a remote area near Redfern-Keily Provincial Park and were on their way back to their vehicle with Eyre's first kill, a sheep, when they startled a mother grizzly with two cubs.

"She was very close, I only had a few seconds, and she grabbed me and attacked me," Eyre said.

With the sow towering over him, Eyre was in the fight of his life.

"It was terrifying. I really thought my days were over on the Earth. Seeing her above me, and her power."

Austin pulled his gun out of his backpack to try and shoot the bear.

"But then I was worried I was going to shoot Chris, so I screamed at her real aggressively, and she turned around and looked at me and just charged as soon as she saw me."

The two men were prepared and had a two-way transponder that sent an emergency location signal to rescue crews. (CFJC)

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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