Peaceful South Okanagan nature walk turns terrifying for man chased by bulls | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peaceful South Okanagan nature walk turns terrifying for man chased by bulls

Osoyoos resident, and bird watcher Les Dewar, got more than he bargained for earlier this week when walk to look for a rare bird turned into a terrifying confrontation with four angry bulls.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Les Dewar
May 14, 2021 - 6:00 AM

A South Okanagan man out on a nature walk to look at rare birds earlier this week instead found himself in an unusual situation when he was chased by four angry bulls.

Osoyoos resident Les Dewar says he went to White Lake on May 10 to look at some rare birds he had been told were there.

The area, located east of Okanagan Falls in the vicinity of the White Lake Astrophysical Observatory, is a popular spot for hikers, birders and mountain bikers.

“I parked at the parking area just off Fairview-White Lake Road and walked towards the lake to see the birds, but they weren’t there. I got close to the lake, where I saw cattle on the other side. I thought there was a fence between us, but there wasn’t,” Dewar says.

He turned around to go back to the parking lot using the main trail, but as he started back he heard some noise and says he looked around to see three bulls coming towards him “at full steam.”

“There was a big cloud of dust and everything. I could hear them bellowing. I decided to get off the trail and give it to them,” Dewar says.

He took a side trail that led towards more mountainous terrain to the east and made it to the base of a mountain.

"They kind of disappeared, then next thing I knew they were coming down another trail towards me, four of them this time, fighting and butting their heads together, pawing the ground. I didn’t know where to go, so I began scrambling up the mountain, but I have health issues and I’m not very good at this kind of stuff,” he says.

He could hear them coming, jostling and pushing each other and making a lot of noise.

Dewar fought his way through branches and gravel scree and got about five metres up the mountain before hugging the ground and remaining quiet as the bulls milled around just below him.

“They came up to within a few feet, snuffling and pawing the ground. The thing they didn’t do was look up, as I was just a few feet above them,” he says.

Calling the experience “terrifying,” he says he didn’t know where he was going to go at that point. He was exhausted and the mountain was too steep to climb beyond his perch.

“I have neuropathy in my legs. I never thought about climbing a tree,” he says.

Dewar remained there for around 20 minutes before the bulls moved on and he felt safe enough to move again.

“It was totally unexpected. I’ve been the area a few times and never had an experience like that," Dewar says. "I’m worried there could be other people who come here and can’t get out of the way. I think I cold have easily been trampled.

"I don’t know what got them stirred up, but these guys were really agitated."

He says the main herd was on the north side of the lake but it seemed to him the bulls came from the south.

He’s hoping his story will be a warning to others if they go to the popular birding area.

“Anybody who thinks they can outrun a bull, don’t count on it. It’s amazing how fast they can move," Dewar says.

"As for me, one thing I’m not going to be doing is go to Spain to watch the running of the bulls. I’ve already done that.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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