He’s best known as a champion jet boat racer, but right now, Valleyview’s Rick Hollingworth is gaining fame for fighting off a grizzly bear. He was hunting for elk with his cousin 40 kilometres south of the community on November 13th, when they came across the animal.
“He came out of the bush looking for another meal. From about 40 yards along he charged; I got three shots into him and by the third shot he was right in my face. He was still quite active and came around on us again but we were out of shells so my gun barrel was my only defence.”
He was able to shove the gun’s barrel into the grizzly’s mouth which backed it off long enough to load another shot. That one finished the bear off, and Fish and Wildlife responded to remove its body.
“That was my only option, but actually talking to people since, bears do have quite a gag reflex and that’s actually not a bad defence; it really backed him up. You kind of go through the scenarios in your mind but if it’s life or death then you’re fighting for your life.”
Hollingworth is using the close call as a reminder to be bear aware when in the woods. He’s looking forward to getting back on the World Jet Boat Championship tour to defend his 2015 title.