Canada bear kills woman, son witnesses from cabin

Fred Gunner

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A 9-year-old Canadian boy watched in horror as a black bear killed his mother while she was on the phone talking to her father, according to a report.

The tragedy unfolded Thursday evening in a very remote part of Saskatchewan, police said.

Police said Stephanie Blais, 44, suffered significant injuries in the attack.

CKOM-AM reported on Monday interviewing Blais’ father, who said his daughter’s son Eli witnessed the attack from inside their cabin.

“She called me to tell me that the water line hadn’t been working and that her husband had fixed it. She then told her son, Eli, to run inside and grab an antenna,” Hubert Esquirol told the station.

He said he then heard distorted gurgling sounds over the phone, according to the station.

“I stayed on the line for a few minutes before I hung up and tried calling again,” he told the station. “The sounds were very disturbing. An attack crossed my mind but attacks are one in a million.”

Esquirol said his daughter’s husband Curtis Blais called him back.

“He called me and told me that Stephanie had been attacked by a bear,” Esquirol said, according to the station. “The bear wouldn’t let go so he shot the bear until it let go.”

The husband administered CPR but it was too late.

Esquriol said bears have always been around, but never any trouble.

“We never leave any food around, we have never given them a reason to stay,” he said “There has never been any provoked bears or any that seemed angry. They would always run off.”

He said a conservation officer told him the bear was unprovoked in the attack and that the bear wasn’t hungry. It had a stomach full of blueberries.

“Stephanie would have been in the bears’ sight,” Esquirol told the station. “She had her back turned. She didn’t see it.”

“Curtis handled the situation extremely well,” he said, according to the station. “It could have been so much worse. The children could have been near her at the time of the attack.”


SASKATOON — The father of a woman who was killed by a black bear in Saskatchewan last week says he was on the phone with his daughter at the time of the attack.

Hubert Esquirol says Stephanie Blais was at their family cabin on McKie Lake, north of Buffalo Narrows, on Thursday with her husband Curtis and two children Elie, 9, and Uma, 2.

The water pump had quit, so Stephanie had called her father to let him know.

Esquirol says Blais sent her son into the cabin for the satellite phone’s antenna to improve reception at the remote lake, and seconds later he heard a gurgling noise and then couldn’t get a response.

Blais was pronounced dead by medical personnel after she was flown out of the area, and police have said Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment would conduct an investigation.

It’s the first fatal bear attack in Saskatchewan since 1983.

“I waited, and I stayed on the line two minutes, and I called her name and I said, ‘Hello,’ and I got no response. So then I called back and let it ring four minutes later, and I got no response,” Esquirol recounted.

“And seven minutes later Curtis called me (and said) that the bear had attacked Stephanie, he pepper-sprayed the bear, shot the bear twice, he attended to Stephanie and gave her CPR, but by that time she had no pulse.”

Esquirol said he then contacted a friend who was a seaplane operator, who picked up Blais from McKie Lake and brought her back to Buffalo Narrows.

He said many are rallying around his family in the wake of Blais’ death.

“Elie has many cousins his age so he’s got company. Uma knows that her mother was attacked by a bear, I don’t know if she knows that her mother is dead, but she knows that her mother was attacked,” Esquirol said.

“She’s quite bright for a two-year-old, and I suspect that she knows that her mother will never come back.”

 

PARA45

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How terrible, and poor child that had to see that.
 

gillettehunter

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Bad news all the way around. RIP.
Bruce
 

norfolk shooter

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I wander what made the bear attack her?? But yes rather unfortunate and harsh on the young lad to have seen it all
 

Spooksar

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Sad but not uncommon in Northern Canada, the black bears in the Fort Nelson area in BC kill quite a few people.
 

norfolk shooter

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Sad but not uncommon in Northern Canada, the black bears in the Fort Nelson area in BC kill quite a few people.
But does anyone know why?? Might it be a case of the bears are killing vegetarians because they smell like sweetcorn and carrots (and whatever else they eat).
 

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Listened to the interview with the father on the radio today. Very sad. There were two children there but the one was with his mom when it happened. The grandpa said that he heard her tell the boy to go get another antenna for the sat-phone when it happened. I suspect to was simply a case of a predatory bear in a very remote area.
 

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@norfolk shooter
All bears are opportunists.
A gentlemen of your stature sitting down in the grass would make an very inviting target


The closest road to the lake is the equivalent distance from Dover to Heathrow.

Screen Shot 2020-08-25 at 17.56.11.png
 

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Very sad story. Every spring we do a northern sask bear hunt. I believe these northern bears rarely if ever have any human contact and a lot of times have no fear of people. One of the easiest hunts to do. Now for when it comes to hunting the farmland bears it’s a different story. The farmland bears are absolutely terrified of humans and hunting them is much more difficult.
 

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But does anyone know why?? Might it be a case of the bears are killing vegetarians because they smell like sweetcorn and carrots (and whatever else they eat).
Hmmm, not exactly what one might expect to hear as comment on a womans ghastly death by bear attack, with her child nearby. Really??
 

flatwater bill

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A sad reminder that even the lowly black bear is wild and dangerous. So good that the child was safe.....over my lifetime I have treated blacks with absolute derision.....attacking them with a .22, a .32 kit gun, and even a rock. But now, in my later years, I realize, it could have gone much differently...............RIP.......FWB
 

norfolk shooter

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Nyati

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Sad story, RIP

Should remind us that any wild animal could be dangerous.
 

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Hmmm, not exactly what one might expect to hear as comment on a womans ghastly death by bear attack, with her child nearby. Really??
Although I don't know Norfolk Shooter, nothing I've read from him would indicate he is of a malicious or callous mind. Instead I suspect that he may be alluding to a theory developed during British Colonial times which observed that predator species, in particular tigers, lions etc, were more likely to attack vegetarians than people with a more ballenced diet. The theory suggested that a difference in scent may have been the way the animals diferentiated between prey and potential threats. I first heard the theory some decades ago from a friend's grandfather who had been an officer with the British military in India. I believe it was a common belief during his time.

However, it's a discussion probably suited to a better time.
 
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WAB

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Very tough situation. What a tough deal for those children!

Black bear typically kill more people each year than grizzlies. If a black bear attacks you he is intending to eat you. Fight for your life! If a griz attacks, he is likely eliminating a threat, as soon as he perceives that the threat is neutralized he will lamely stop, play dead. If a polar bear attacks you, you’re basically screwed.
 

machinistbutler

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I worked close to that area, on the other side of the border in Alberta. The Bears up there are not afraid of people, or many aren't. Had to always have a bear fence around my camp, and keep my quad inside the fence. An oilfield worker got killed, a woman, a few years ago up there with a bunch of people nearby trying to help her.

Terrible for her son to have to see that.
 

Scott CWO

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Very tough situation. What a tough deal for those children!

Black bear typically kill more people each year than grizzlies. If a black bear attacks you he is intending to eat you. Fight for your life! If a griz attacks, he is likely eliminating a threat, as soon as he perceives that the threat is neutralized he will lamely stop, play dead. If a polar bear attacks you, you’re basically screwed.
Agreed. Black bear attacks are fairly rare but when they do attack, they mean business.

Grizzlies in areas without salmon are also fairly aggressive.

Brown bears are usually very well fed due to salmon and not usually as aggressive but anything can happen. A great guy, repeat client of mine and an accomplished hunter, Dan Schilling of Alaska, was just killed earlier this month by a brown bear about a mile from his house. He was clearing a hiking trail and had his dog with him and probably a gun but the bear still got him. You can google it and read about it. Tragedy. Not all DG species are in Africa. RIP Dan. See you on the other side, buddy.
 
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Hunter4752001

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According to the reports I read, the authorities found a discharged can of bear spray near by Dan Schillings body and the scene still carried the scent of the spray. We may never know the full circumstances of the tragedy, but despite whatever precautions you take, one day the dice will roll against you. Live life to the full, treasure ever day you have and never take life for granted.
 

Scott CWO

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He usually carried a sidearm but must have went for the lighter option of bear spray that day maybe due to all the work on the trail he was doing? I can only imagine the fear he felt when the spray didn’t work and as he was dying. My gawd what a horrible way to go. Bears, big cats, crocs, sharks and burning are about the worst ways to go out of this world I think so this makes me sick for him. As for bear spray, not a fan. I’ve seen a lot of brown bears die as a guide every spring in Alaska. When shot or injured, a black bear runs away like a freight train on a death sprint but brown bears spin around looking for what hurt them. I think bear spray could enrage a brown bear and make an attack even worse. Perhaps the outcome would have been different with a gun but we will never know for sure.
 
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