Nasty Bear Attack on Morice River in British Columbia

Beginner or veteran angler, if you’re fishing in the Pacific Northwest you better be on your toes. Here’s an account of a recent bear attack, the victim being an extremely knowledgeable and capable outdoorsman. A wake-up call for all of us.

From the Alaska Dispatch.

Alaska Bush pilot and avid fly fisherman Gary Limage spent much of his adult life around grizzly bears in the wilds of the 49th state only to end up getting mauled by one along the Canadian road system. Friends and former co-workers over the weekend identified Limage as the Alaska angler reportedly attacked by a grizzly last week in northwestern British Columbia.

Canadian authorities are reporting the bear ripped off Limage’s jaw in a horrific attack.
Friend Don Cogger, who used to operate Alaska Air Guides off of Lake Hood in Anchorage, said that since the 1970s Limage worked not only for him there but for a number of other air carriers with service to rural Alaska, including Rust Flying Service of Anchorage and Frontier Flying Service of Fairbanks, as well as various fishing lodges in Bristol Bay. Van Hartley at Branch River Air in King Salmon near the end of the Alaska Peninsula said on Monday that Limage worked there last summer, and Hartley had known Limage for years and years before that.

“We used to take him out and drop him off on camping trips” in grizzly-filled Bristol Bay, Hartley said by telephone from King Salmon. “He spent a lot of time in and around bears.”

Given Limage’s history, both Hartley and Cogger were shocked to hear about the pilot being attacked by a bear on a popular fishing stream along the Canadian road system. The Vancouver Sun reported the 65-year-old Limage was fishing Sept. 18 in the Morice River near Houston when the attack took place. Houston, B.C., is a community of about 3,200 people near midway along the Yellowknife Highway between Prince George in the center of the province and the coastal port of Prince Rupert just south of Ketchikan, Alaska.

The official website for the community says “Houston is known as the ‘Steelhead Capital of the World’ because so many anglers flock here for the mighty fish — even though it is catch and release only.”
Friends of Limage said that describes exactly the kind of place that would attract him. According to the Sun story, it appears Limage was on the creek not far from his camper van when attacked at around 7:30 p.m. Sgt. Kevin Nixon, a spokesman for the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, is reported to have speculated Limage “was crouching down to put something in a bag, and when he stood up the bear lunged at him,” but it is unclear from the Sun story on what that idea is based.
After the attack, which left Limage seriously injured, he reportedly crawled about 300 yards to a road. A woman driving along the road spotted him curled in the ditch. She stopped to help and then called emergency services.
“If she hadn’t stopped for him, this could have been a life-or-death situation,” Nixon told the Sun. Limage was rushed to the hospital in Smithers, B.C. and later airlifted to Vancouver General Hospital. The Sun reported his jaw was bitten off in a mauling eerily similar to what happened to Wes Perkins of Nome more than a year ago. Perkins is still recovering from that attack.

The Sun said Limage’s “camper van has been towed from the fishing site … a popular destination for fly fishing [that] attracts people from all over the world, including celebrities and politicians.”
Details about the attack are vague because Limage was unable to speak, but the Sun did report … For the whole story visit: http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/veteran-alaska-bush-pilot-mauled-grizzly

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22 Responses to Nasty Bear Attack on Morice River in British Columbia

  1. Mike says:

    You can’t be too careful. If I hadn’t had my dog with me I would have walked right into a griz in the Blackfoot area this summer. As it was, it was only 30′ away. Now when I beat the brush I pack a can of spray. Best wishes and speedy recovery to Gary Limage.

  2. Jackmeoff says:

    STUPID is as STUPID DOES! I don’t know what IDIOT would go in to bear country with at least a cannister of bear spray?!? Hey Gary,are you an idiot?

  3. butch says:

    Hey Jack… how bout you take it easy on the guy who just had his jaw taken off? what a dick head comment…..

    Stupid is the guy who cant keep his pie hole shut…. Have some respect and hopefully people can learn from his mistake and spread hopes for a speedy recovery…

  4. Jackmeoff says:

    @Butch bottom line he is short some marbles!!! When people do something stupid and it almost costs them their lives,they don’t deserve any sympathy! Would you go fishing in bear country without any form of protection or are you as stupid as this individual is? Buy your post obviously you are!

    • Greg Thomas says:

      I didn’t build this site for gunfights. You know this guy could have been any one of us. Maybe he forgot the bear spray. Maybe he was confident enough to go into the woods and on the water without it. Maybe he just ran into the wrong bear. Maybe he did make a big mistake or got complacent. The thing is, this could have been you or it could have been me or it could have been any of us who fish in griz country. I bet this guy has great stories to tell. I bet he knows steelhead and catches a lot of them, tie some awesome flies, too. He might even be the kind of guy who would be generous enough to invite you or me or someone else along for a trip. I bet he’d be a cool guy to share a campfire with.
      Right now he’s probably still in the hospital and not feeling too good. I don’t really think it helps to dismantle him online. None of us know him well. At least I don’t think. He could be super cool. Maybe he’s an idiot. I don’t know. And I don’t think you know either. Doesn’t get any sympathy? He gets my sympathy as a fellow angler and a common human being. I’m hoping he makes a speedy recovery and gets a double-hander in his fists again soon.

  5. Jackmeoff says:

    @Greg what this guy did was totally FOOLISH! Going in to bear country without any bear spray? Like c’mon man, what was he thinking? And buy the sounds of it no one of his family knew of his demise, he ended up in a vancouver hospital at canadian taxpayers expense since he was an American from Alaska,probably had no travel insurance either!Just STUPID what he did and tragic at the same time! You mention he’s probably got some good stories to tell? Well,he won’t be able to tell any now seeing his jaw got taken off! I rest my case!

  6. D-summ says:

    I think the only idiot here is Jack. People can make mistakes. But to harsh on this dude without knowing all the details is wrong. Back off, Jack.

  7. Jackmeoff says:

    @D-Summ think the only idiot here is Gary not knowing any better going fishing in bear country without even a cannister of bear spray? So you and the other idioys reading can sympathize all you want not knowing the circumstances(What is there to know?) He’s fishing in bear country without bear spray,pretty stupid for anyone to do,adios sympathizers. If the moderator here doesn’t like the remarks posted you can go ahead and remove them if you own the site! Dumb and Dumber part 4!

    • Greg Thomas says:

      There’s a single guy running this show. That’s me. Content producer. Photographer. Moderator. Sales. Product developer. Etc.
      I appreciate you as a viewer of the site and a person willing to comment, but I really hate the loose cannon mentality that the Internet has bred. I really appreciate well thought out comments and arguments. I’d hate to see comments on AT turn into those you’ll find on most sites where the scrawny dude behind the screen and the keyboard types away like a tough guy, with little regard for what he says. I think we’re better than that here.
      I’d offer this: regarding Gary, I think you are in the minority and your view towards him makes me think, I wouldn’t want to be your son or daughter or your mother or father. I get the idea you’d pitch them away if they ever made a mistake, which is a bad human condition to have. Would I take bear spray with me in griz country? Hell yes. But there’s been a time or two when I’ve forgotten it or thought it was in one pack and it was actually in another. And one time I had it ripped right out of my hip pack while bushwhacking.
      Another point, the comment about Gary being American and the tax dollars issue is just mindless speak. You’d have to run through the entire range of politics between our countries, including why Canada is safe and protected, to understand the dynamic between our great countries. That comment sets up another potential rift between sets of people, which isn’t what I want. I feel like Canada is my second home and I’ve travelled east and west through the provinces and loved the people I’ve met. Of those people, I feel like there are few who would take your stand on the bear attack.
      Anyway, again, you’re welcome to share your thoughts, but please be careful what you say. Maybe a little more thought before the clanking away at the keys. I understand you think the guy was nuts, but everyone makes a mistake and I just think of him now. Thanks, Jack.

  8. Jeff Moody says:

    I know, and I have worked with Gary in southwest Alaska for 30-plus years. He is a savvy outdoorsman, and more experienced in the back country than 99+% of the commenters on this site. (we live and work in an area known for the highest concentration of brown bears in the WORLD)
    What happened is tragic. But it can happen to anyone that lives this life.
    Except maybe “Jackmeoff,” who probably doesn’t wander too far from his computer. He sounds like a “RFT” (that’s “real f***in’ TREADWELL”)

    • Greg Thomas says:

      That’s what I figured, Jeff. Thanks for sharing. It gives us all a little more info on Gary and cements most of our opinions—that he’s an experienced outdoorsman who came across the wrong bear. Please do a favor for me and tell him that Anglers’ Tonic and its patrons wish him all the best, including a speedy recovery. Please do that. Thanks, Jeff.

  9. Jackmeoff says:

    @Jeff Moody and Greg well I am a AVID Skier but if it says “Danger, out of bounds, no skiing beyond this point” if I head in to out of bounds territory and kill myself,then I’m stupid and it was my own fault for not obeying the sign to stay in bounds. Doesn’t matter how much of a ‘expert’ Gary is,he did something totally STUPID!!! I worked for Bc Hydro as a lineman here and they even gave us ‘bear spray’ to use whenever we went and did electric tower work in the woods! Everybody here locally stated ‘Gary can’t be tyhe brightest guy for not having any protection(bear spray) so I rest my case. I won’t be back to read any more of you retards comments feeling sorry cause it is like trying to climb Mount Everest without oxygen,STUPID!!!!

    • Greg Thomas says:

      I just don’t think you get it, Jack. And I know you’ll be reading this because you won’t be able to help yourself.
      What I really want to say is that this has been a great test of Angler’s Tonic and the integrity its audience shares. I was quite interested in what the comments would be to such a brash comment here. We could have whipped and slayed but everyone kept it in pretty good check. Props. This is the type of nonsense that infiltrates the other Web sites and I certainly don’t want shortsighted people here. Thanks to all for your refrain. In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that we all wish Gary a speedy recovery.

  10. D-summ says:

    Jack, since you are an avid skier, do you wear full body armor to protect yourself from running into a tree? I suspect not. I hear skiing can be pretty dangerous. I bet way more people get seriously injured or die skiing every year than by bear attacks. So, does that make you an idiot and a retard for accepting some inherent risk? By your logic, I think so…And judging the screen name you have selected, I’d say it’s confirmed.

  11. KT says:

    Wow! Funny comments above. @D-summ get a brain, obviously Jackmeoff is some dumb ass troll posting his short sightedness here and for you guys to further trash talk him give it a rest cause you look just as stupid carrying on. Everyone is human and entitled to an opinion good or bad. See the trolls are out in good force and trash talk and internet bullying prevail. Jack, put a sock in it! Realistically posters reading what this man did is quite foolish! Doesn’t matter how much one is of an expert around a wild unpredicatble animal seeing he was a former now perhaps retired guide! This individual should have known better from the get go! Referring to Jack’s comments up above I’ve known Hydro companies in both the US and Canada to provide their electric lineman with bear spray when they do go work in the woods on electric tower lines,so he is telling the truth there. You’d figure Gary would have at least had some common sense to have hit any hardware store in BC after he crossed the line to at least have purchased a can of bear spray. Don’t know how effective it is,I have known lineman to have encountered bears in the woods,have used the spray only to further piss off the bear and end up getting chased! Anyways just came across the article and read,let’s hope we learn from this mistake,wish you a successful recovery Gary,sorry as to what happened to you.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Thanks for the comment. I accidentally, of course, shot myself with bear spray in British Columbia one time, after the safety cap got ripped off in the bush. It torched my arm and the burn was so bad that I am quite sure that the stuff works. I don’t think there’s an animal on the planet that could see through that stuff if you made a good hit on it. I believe in the stuff now and will stand my ground if a griz comes, knowing that a good shot will stop it or, at least, blind it long enough for me to get out of the area. I’ve been told to aim down and in front of an animal as it charges as the spray will rise into the animal’s nose and eyes. Can’t verify, but that is what I would do.

  12. Mike says:

    My, my. Things have certainly gotten spicy since I posted the first comment several weeks ago. Jack, your chosen name says it all. Are you for real? Your comments are so ridiculous and extreme that I can’t help but think you’re yanking our chains. I’ve lived in the Swan Valley, the heart of griz country, for 35 years and have encountered a handful of grizzlies. Without exception they have run the other way every time. I run in the woods, mountain bike, xc ski, fish and walk my dogs pretty much every day of the year and rarely pack bear spray. Am I an idiot? Maybe. Do I care what you think? Do any of us who have posted here care what you think? I’m far more likely to get killed in a car crash than to be mauled by a bear. Lighten up, dude. It must be hard to be you and stand in constant judgment of the rest of us mere mortals.

    • KT says:

      @Mike you are really risking it! Only a matter of time that you encounter a “unfriendly” wrong bear or a mom with cubs then you’ll regret not having carried bear spray. yes,most bears will turn and run away but one day you’ll encounter one that won’t and you’ll be sorry. get some spray dude!

  13. Constance Wilson says:

    Nowhere does this article say that he DID NOT have bear spray or a weapon.

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