Excerpt from Chapter 4, Carcass Defence Behaviour:
"They had snowshoes on, as there were patches of snow up to three feet deep. Terry was about 25 yards ahead of Joe and had just worked his way through a thick patch of alder when he came to an elevated log that crossed the flag line. Joe was blazing station # 692 with his axe as Terry put his right snowshoe over the log. Terry looked ahead at a spruce tree about 40 feet away and saw what looked like a porcupine moving through the low, downward-hanging limbs.
A funny feeling in his stomach caused Terry to pull his snowshoe-clad-foot back over the log. When his foot hit the ground, a large grizzly exploded out from under the limbs and came directly at him.
Terry’s shock turned to terror as he screamed and reached for his bear mace in the front pocket of his cruise vest; the bear had come silently, but Terry’s scream caused it to stop 20 feet away. Quickly, he turned and yelled at Joe, “Grizzly,” as he pulled the bear spray from his vest. When he turned back, the bear was lunging at him, but when he made eye contact, the grizzly again hesitated. The bear’s stare was the most awful, deadly-looking thing Terry had ever seen, and he knew that the bear was about to rip him to shreds.
Terry then realised that he had to stand his ground in order to save himself. He dropped the bear spray and went for the 12 gauge Mossberg Slugster that was slung across his back. The grizzly had started its final charge when the first dose of 00 buckshot hit it in the face at seven feet—the bear stopped, but didn’t go down. The second round of buckshot hit the bear’s face again, but the bear was still standing. Terry desperately worked his last shell into the chamber—it was a slug. When the gun went off, the grizzly was knocked over backwards.
Meanwhile, Joe had done a very brave thing: Instead of running away from the battle for life that was unfolding in front of him, he ran up behind Terry to help him. The bear went wild; it was spinning around on its side, roaring and bellowing at the top of its lungs. Terry ripped his vest off and shoved it at Joe, yelling, “Get me more ammo quick, get a slug round.”
Joe tore into the vest, pulling the contents from the back pocket; he found birdshot, then buckshot, and finally, several slug shells. He slapped them into Terry’s waiting hand. The grizzly was up and turning towards them when the slug ripped into its chest just behind the right front leg.
The bear collapsed on its side and lay still for a moment, then jumped up and ran to their right, stumbling and bellowing as it went out of sight. They could see that the grizzly still had ample power, and it sounded like the bear was coming around behind them in the timber. Then, all of a sudden, it was very quiet. Terry and Joe looked at each other; they couldn’t believe they had survived the attack. But they had to get back to the heli-site without being ambushed. What a terrible situation.
After calming down a bit and putting more ammunition in the shotgun, they gathered up their equipment and started back down the traverse. They moved slowly, back to back, Terry with the gun ready and Joe holding two cans of bear spray. They expected an explosion of fury to come at them any second from the thick brush. A heavy dose of adrenaline was surging through their bodies. They were breathing in gulps.
It had started snowing when they initiated their retreat, which seemed like a bad omen. It seemed to take forever to get back to the drop site, but what a relief it was to be in the open slide area. They moved to the center of the slide runout; this allowed them to see all around for a hundred yards. Joe radioed for the helicopter to come pick them up right away, as they had been attacked by a bear, and it might still be stalking them.
Terry had faced a horrible death up close and knew that the awful glare of the bear’s eyes would be etched in his mind forever."