A day after being attacked by a bear near his Anmore home, Ken Hogue was able to joke with his neighbours about the harrowing incident and expressed sadness that his 200 lb. adversary had to be killed.
The only reason the mother bear didn't eat him, Hogue speculated, was that he didn't taste good without ketchup.
But during the Monday morning incident in Countryside Village near Buntzen Lake, Hogue feared for his life when the black bear ran it him, prompting him to dive down an embankment.
"I just came upon it and, boom, all of a sudden it came at me," Hogue recalled.
He was just 500 feet from his house, walking along the tree-lined residential street with his shih tzu dog Shelby, when he spotted a bear embroiled in an aggressive encounter with another neighbour's dog.
The bear saw Hogue and began running toward him, bowling over his little dog and leaping down the embankment after him.
"I fell and hit my head on a rock and she swiped me on my right arm," he said.
He then lay still for several moments while the animal pressed against him and he wondered why it didn't finish him off - a friend's father was killed and partially eaten by a bear a few years ago and Hogue was sure he was going to meet the same fate.
"I could feel her, I was waiting for her, waiting for her to do it," Hogue said. He even turned his face away to avoid what he thought was inevitable.
It was a terrible moment but, at the time, Hogue said, he was more worried about his dog.
After what seemed like several minutes, the bear walked up the embankment but it kept turning back to look at Hogue, who was trapped and bleeding. Thinking the bruin was far enough away to take action, Hogue grabbed his dog and tried to climb the embankment.
But Shelby broke loose and the bear charged after them again.
But a neighbour came upon the scene in his car and honked the horn to scare the bear off. Hogue climbed into the man's car and they called 911. BC Ambulance paramedics responded and Hogue was taken to Eagle Ridge Hospital, where his head and arm were bandaged and he was sent home.
While he was gone, the BC Conservation Officer Service and RCMP interviewed witnesses and after deciding the bear was a threat to the safety of residents and visitors in the area, shot and killed the bruin with a single shot from a shotgun. According to a police statement, the bear ran into the bushes and was found dead a short time later.
As well, nearby Buntzen Lake was shut down as officers tranquillized three cubs that were hiding in a tree.
A conservation officer told The Tri-City News that garbage likely attracted the bear, which had been a familiar sight in the manufactured home park for the past several weeks. Several garbage cans had been knocked over as evidence, said RCMP Const. Chris Doyle.
Returning to the scene the following morning, Hogue said he was right under the tree the bear cubs had climbed when he was attacked.
When asked to identify the bear, which had a yellow tag in its ear, an indication that it had been relocated previously, Hogue said he felt sad and he hopes the strata council follows through on plans to distribute animal-resistant bins to park residents to reduce garbage problems.
But he doesn't blame anyone for the incident and loves the area where he has lived with his wife for seven years.
"It was a fluke," he said. "I just happened upon it and it was a bad situation."
Meanwhile, the cubs have reportedly been taken to Critter Care, a mammal rehabilitation centre in Langley.