On Monday, September, 4th 2017, Jeff Haydukewich was a victim of a bear attack near Weirdale, SK. To follow is the details of his horrific day and the days to follow as told by Kate Martens in the Go Fund Me that has been established to help the family
by Kate Martens
As the rest of us scrambled to get names on pencils and lunches made Monday evening for the kids’ first day of school next day Marita’s evening got rocked with a phone call from her brother in law that made her blood run cold. He said that Jeff had been attacked by a bear and she best come quick. Her first thought was he was joking around with her as he knows she hates bears and yeah right as black bears don’t really attack people but the quiet tone on the other end had her guts in a knot already and life as they all knew it was suddenly over.
Jeff, a seasoned and avid hunter, was out close to home hunting archery elk in Zone 50 on Monday, enjoying the gorgeous fall and nature at its finest when a sow and her 3 cubs came in to feed at his bait. That happens often and he took a few pictures of the family of bears as they rummaged below in his oats. But the momma caught his scent and for whatever reason, she came straight up the tree grabbing him by his arm and dragging him down to the ground where she continued to maul him. There was no time to think about what to do or even be scared as it all happened so quickly but he remembers thinking to himself that he isn’t going out this way, not like this and his kids and love for his family rushed in as he realized that right now he is going to be fighting a mad momma bear for his life. He had one arrow in his hand and as she tussled him around, biting and mauling him he tried to stab her and scare her off while she ripped the skin from his arms and legs and pulled apart his body. He did make it back up the tree and even climbed higher than his stand but she came up again and hauled him out again and by now Jeff had major injuries to his arms and legs, a punctured lung and was gashed up bad and his arm and leg were what the Drs call ‘degloved’ and that word description leaves a picture in our minds that doesn’t need explaining.
He’s been mauled, bitten, had the skin ripped off his body in many parts and left for dead and now his mind told him he had to get out of there and all he had for help was his grit and strong willed determination. No one can explain how he got himself to the truck with the extent of his injuries but he did with the love for his family fueling him. And then again found the strength to drive to his brother’s place 4 miles away showing up asking for a drink of water. Insert Jeff humor there haha and from there ambulance and airlifted to RUH where they looked at horror at the mutilated limbs and the extent of the injuries became reality. How did this guy make it?? He surely is one tough guy the medical staff said.
Jeff and Marita have 7 children ages from 1 year to 21 years old, living in White Fox area he is newly employed with Mazeruk industries. Marita has just returned to work at Heritage Funeral home after her maternity leave a couple months ago as baby Ava just had her 1st birthday.
Honestly no one is ever really prepared for these kinds of things to happen and no one likes asking for help either and yet people ask ‘how can we help` The reality is that we all know that if something were to happen to anyone of us both Jeff and Marita would be there, first thing with a helping hand, and encouraging word and contributing, however, they could. That`s just who they are…good, honest hard working people. But the reality of this situation is sinking in with mat leave just over Marita has no `compassion` leave and Jeff no disability. The Dr’s estimation so far is a long haul, 2-3 surgeries every week for at least 6 weeks trying to reconstruct his arm and leg to be functioning by taking muscles from his back and tons of skin grafting and none of that is a sure thing yet either.
He will be in St Paul`s recovering for a long time with rehab to follow. So for him working is not an option and that future is very uncertain as his long term is unknown at this time.
Marita hasn`t been home since it`s happened yet and her trips back and forth to Saskatoon will be very often and that is a 6 hour trip in itself. At this time Jeff is very uncomfortable, sore, stuck in a hospital bed and being inside and cooped up isn`t his happy place. Having Marita and Ava by his side is comforting and makes his life a little bit easier to bear. I`m sure if you are in the city he`d love a visit…I just got off the phone with the two of them and it sure was great to get to talk to them both. A person doesn`t think about how much you love your friends sometimes until things like this happen. We are all grateful to have him here. Maybe we all will need to share our hunting stories with him this fall as he will be living thru us all out there in the stubble and the forests doing what we all love to do. This I can assure you…that he will be back out with a rifle on his back, in his stands doing what he loves, and the experience he went thru lives with us all as it`s not something any of us will ever forget. He`s lucky, he`s a strong man and he has amazing friends and family…he will heal in time but man-a-living it sure was nice to be able to talk to him on the phone today.
If you`d like to donate, contribute, send an encouraging word or well wishes here you are., this page is for you. Jeff`s road to recovery is promised to be long, stressful and painful but he does know what happened out there was rare, black bears rarely act that way and he knows he is one lucky guy. We all know him as one helluva tough guy with a huge heart for his friends and family and can’t wait for him to be sitting at the table playing cards and teasing whoever is close.
Let`s come together for this family and with monetary donations, we certainly can help with all the things that will come in the months to follow…thank you so much XOXOX
Help spread the word! Kate Martens
Please share this and help the family through the tough times they will be facing over the next few months. Thank you to Kate Martens for her permission to reprint her story and share it with our readers.