The next time Jeff Haydukewich sets out on a hunting expedition, he’ll be leaving the bow at home and pack his rifle.
But it’ll be awhile before he’ll be able to venture back into the great outdoors, after being attacked by a black bear on Labour Day.
Haydukewich is recovering at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon after the Monday ordeal, which happened near Weirdale — about half-an-hour northeast of Prince Albert.
He was staged in a tree, hunting for elk, when a mother bear and her three cubs approached his bait pile at the base of his hideout.
His first instinct was to scare the bear away by making noise.
But instead of leaving, the 300-pound bear raced up into the tree after him.
“It happened so fast, she came up and grabbed me by my right arm, dragged me to the ground,” Haydukewich said.
“(She) mauled me on the ground, I don’t know for how long.”
He eventually managed to get away, scrambling back up the tree for safety.
But the bear came after him again, grabbing him by the leg and pulling him out of the tree once more.
During the second attack, Haydukewich managed to get his hands on one of his arrows.
“I kept poking her every time she came running at me,” Haydukewich said. “She had a hold of my left toe, and I was kicking her with my right leg.”
He said one thing was running through his mind.
“I don’t remember being scared,” he said. “I just remember, ‘I’m not going out like that. Not by a bear. This bear ain’t going to get me.'”
The bear ended up running away after being jabbed by the arrows, but Haydukewich wasn’t in good condition. He said about a foot of skin was left hanging from his wrist to his elbow, among other injuries.
He managed to drive himself to his brother’s house nearby to get help.
STARS Air Ambulance flew him to Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, before he was eventually transferred to St. Paul’s.
Haydukewich underwent surgery on Friday morning and expects he’ll remain in hospital for at least a few weeks.