Yes, you read that right: this guy punched a bear in the face when it attacked him while he was walking his dog.
Not many guys can say they have punched a bear in the face and walked away from the encounter in better shape than the bear did. However, that is exactly what happened the other day when Rick Nelson was walking his dog in the woods near his home in Ontario, Canada.
The 61-year-old man stopped for a break on the walk and sat down on a log. To his surprise, a black bear cub appeared out of the brush nearby and squawked in surprise and fear. The mother bear, which was later estimated to weigh around 300 pounds, rushed in to see what was happening to her cub.
Nelson stood his ground against the bear, which arrived within seconds and stood up on her hind legs in front of him. Nelson, who is a competent boxer, took a swing and punched the bear in the face, but only connected with her teeth. She then swung back at him and scratched his face and chest.
According to Nelson:
I knew it would swing first with its left but it would really come with its right, because most bears are right-handed. I had the perfect shot to take. I did an underhand and hit it right in the snout.
His second swing hit the bear hard and stunned her. The cub then let out another squeal and started to move away and the mother, blood pouring from her nose, turned and followed. The stunned Nelson and his dog were left standing there trying to comprehend what the heck just happened with no injuries more serious than some cuts and scratches.
So there you have it: it is possible to fend off an angry black bear by punching it in the face, specifically the snout. Apparently, most black bears are right handed as well (not something I'd ever considered before hearing about this incident). Who knew?
Everything worked out for Rick and his dog in this case. However, I don't recommend trying to punch a bear in the face as a method of defense against a bear attack. He is clearly a pretty experienced boxer and also was very lucky. That is also something that is much less likely to work on a grizzly or polar bear than on a black bear.
The rest of us should stick to carrying bear spray and/or a good bear defense gun.
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