Richard Wesley was bear hunting in Fire River in Ontario, Canada, on his birthday when a black bear turned the tables on him and went on the attack, a scary moment that was captured on his GoPro camera attached to his head.
"It happened so fast, it was unbelievable," Wesley, a member of First Nation Cree/Ojibwe, told CBC Radio on Friday morning.
The incident happened last Friday, but his friends didn't believe him until Wesley showed them the video, which he posted Monday. By Friday it had more than 1.6 million views:
Wesley explained he was waiting for the bear to walk by to get a clean shot with his traditional recurve bow, but the bear suddenly charged him, not allowing him to get off a shot. He jumped up and yelled, trying to get the bear to recognize him as a human.
"When he jumped on top of me, all I remember thinking is I'm gonna have to try to jab him in the face," Wesley explained to CBC. "Like my dad always told us, the bear is really sensitive on his nose.
"That's all I could think of is I'm going to try jab him in the face with this arrow and I'm falling down and it happened so quickly."
The GoPro went flying to the ground when the bear struck him.
"It seemed one maybe two seconds, I don't know, it seemed like a long time; all I can remember is he's no longer on top of me. Like I jabbed him a few times with my arrow in my hand. And when I jumped up he was taking off running. I'm in total shock and he's running to the tree line."
Fortunately Wesley only suffered a bruised elbow from hitting a log on the way to the ground.
That wasn't the last he saw of the bear, however. He went bear hunting again this week and got revenge.
"I went back in and I harvested that same bear two nights ago," he told CBC, saying he recognized the bear by a white scar on top of his eye. "I went back with a compound bow, but I used a tree stand this time. I was pretty spooked out, so we built a tree stand, and I'm probably going to hunt from a tree stand from now on."
Wesley told Jukin Media that in retrospect, he should have stood up earlier and backed away from the bear. He believed the bear was doing a territorial charge and wanted to scare him out of his territory.
"He slapped me around pretty good, I'll tell you that much," Wesley added. "I was pretty fortunate. I gave the wife the biggest hug of our relationship when I got home out of the bush."