Hunter Wilf Lloyd is continuing to recover after a grizzly bear attack near Fernie left him on the brink of death.
The Cranbrook local and his son-in-law Skeet Podrasky were hunting elk in the Morrissey area last month when a grizzly came out of the woods and attacked Lloyd.
“I knelt down to pick up the horns [of a white tail deer] and I heard a noise below me and there was a thud,” Lloyd said, adding that the next thing he saw was a bear running at him full tilt. “His eyes [were] locked on mine. I went to stand up and I yelled at Skeet ‘bear’ and [the bear] hit me in the chest and rolled me over.”
The 56-year-old taxidermist said the bear was going for his throat, so he forced his arm and hand into the bear’s mouth.
In an attempt to protect his father-in-law, Podrasky shot at the bear, but rather than running back into the wilderness, the bear stopped for a few seconds and then continued to attack Lloyd.
“It’s hard to explain just the fear that comes over you, and you think that this is it,” Lloyd said of the near death experience.
After several shots, the men were able to escape from the bear encounter, but they didn’t escape unharmed. During the encounter, Podrasky inadvertently shot Lloyd in the knee as he was lifting his knee up to defend himself from the bear.
“There’s just so much adrenaline and you’re trying to stay alive and there’s so many different factors that you don’t really think of the pain,” Lloyd said of his gun shot wound. “It’s just a heat of the moment [thing] and it happened and we’ve moved past that.”
He went on to say, “He [Podrasky] sees the great things that he’s done because he saved my life.”
Since the incident, Lloyd has undergone five surgeries and now has two metal rods in his leg that are being stabilized by a cement gel. But despite not having a left knee cap, Lloyd is thankful to have escaped with his life.
“I’m alive and it’s all good,” he said.
Lloyd has not only Podrasky to thank for his life, but Podrasky’s wife, Fernie search-and-rescue and the paramedics who kept him alive after the incident.
“They were just so professional and all a part of saving me,” Lloyd said. “It’s truly amazing.”
In spite of losing his short-term mobility, which Lloyd hopes will be restored with a prosthetic knee, the 56-year-old said he is thankful for every moment since.
“Once you’ve had your life flash in front of you, things mean a lot more and you respect things a lot more for sure,” he noted.
Lloyd said he still plans to continue hunting.
“It’s something that’s in my blood. It’s a passion that I don’t think I’ll ever lose.”