Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipeg man recovering after campground bear attack

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A Winnipeg man is recovering from his injuries after a black bear dragged him from an outhouse and slashed and bit him repeatedly before a friend intervened and shot and killed the bear.

Gordon Shurvell, 65, was back home late Tuesday night after being treated and released from a hospital in northwestern Ontario.

And he can thank one of his best friends, Daniel Alexander, also of Winnipeg, for possibly saving his life.

The attack happened on Saturday at 6 a.m. at a camping site on Crown land about 60 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout, Ont., near Dunbar Lake.

Sgt. David Pinchin of OPP Sioux Lookout said Shurvell and his 63-year-old friend were camping in the area when Shurvell went to a wooden outhouse and left its door open.

A black bear then dragged the man from the loo by his arm and shoulder, before biting him on the back of his head and neck. The bear also slashed at his arms, neck and head. The attack lasted about one minute before Alexander grabbed a gun and shot the animal.

"If you had seen your friend being dragged by a bear, how do you think you would react? Alexander told the Free Press. "I reacted by instinct... when in a life and death situation you react by instinct. You do what you have to do.

"I shot the bear."

Alexander said his friend was bleeding badly, but he managed to stop some of it before they quickly headed to the hospital in Sioux Lookout.

"You have to understand bush life... we're not five minutes from a phone, we don't have cellphone service," he said.

Shurvell's son said it was a terrifying ordeal for his father.

"He was on the john... pulled right from the outhouse," said Dan Shurvell.

"The bear had him by the shoulder. He's scratched up pretty bad."

The man went to hospital for treatment, including a rabies shot, said Pinchin. "He had puncture wounds to the back of his head and neck and slash marks to his arms and back of the head," Pinchin said.

The officer said police have had a lot of calls about bears in the last couple of weeks, but those animals were non-aggressive.

When asked about the friend who shot and killed the bear, the officer said he would do "the exact same thing."

"I would fight back and if I had a firearm, I'd kill the bear," he said.

 

-- with files from Jason Bell

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2012 A4

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