A knife helped this guy.
WILLIAMS LAKE (CP) -- John Hirsch never goes anywhere without his trusty knife.
Good thing for him.
Too bad for the bear.
Hirsch was armed only with his nine-centimetre blade when a black bear attacked him in the back yard of his acreage six kilometres outside of Williams Lake.
Hirsch is still around to talk about it.
The bear's not so lucky. It was killed in the fight.
Hirsch, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, was attacked Oct. 29 while checking on the 15 turkeys he and his wife, Sharon, raised on their 7.2-hectare spread.
One minute it was turkey time; the next, full-on bear.
"He came out of nowhere,'' said Hirsch, who was about 100 metres from his house when the bear appeared.
"I can remember thinking that he's not stopping -- he's coming," said Hirsch.
"I just didn't feel I had any place to go."
As the bear began to circle him, Hirsch, 61, was determined to face it. The pair were like wary wrestlers in a ring.
"It was like a knife fight that you'd see in an old-time Western," said Hirsch, who has tried to downplay the attack locally.
The bear swatted out at him, but each time it lunged, he managed to stab it.
"I had my wits about me enough to know that I had to stay upright," he said. "Every time he lunged at me, I was able to put my knife in him."
Time was suspended.
"I couldn't tell you if the fight lasted three seconds or three minutes," Hirsch said.
Three stabs to the bear's chest and one to its neck finally did the bruin in.
It stood about five feet seven inches to Hirsch's five feet nine inches and weighed 200 pounds, according to conservation officers who inspected it.
"I can say it sure looked smaller the next morning than it did during the fight," said Hirsch, chuckling.
Even though he's trying to keep a low profile, he's been called everything from Grizzly Adams to Daniel Boone to Davy Crockett "and some other things."
The bear was in poor shape, suffering from a severed tongue and broken jaw, the conservation officer said. Its stomach was empty and it had little fat on it.
Hirsch, a retired electrical foreman at B.C. Hydro, suffered only a scratch to the top of his head and scratches to his back -- and a badly torn T-shirt.
He's thankful the bear went after him and not his grandchildren, who regularly visit.
As for the battle itself, Hirsch said it never occurred to him that he would lose to the bear. "I just felt that however long this took, I was going to come out OK," he said. "I always felt that I was at least his equal."