Michael R. Hildebrand rescued Nicholas S. N. Aikins from an attacking bear, Whitney, Ontario, July 15, 1997. Nicholas, 11, and seven other boys were camping along the bank of Opeongo Lake in a remote area of a provincial park, accompanied by their trip leader and a counselor, Hildebrand, 22, college student. A 312-pound black bear entered the campsite at night. It grasped Nicholas, pulled him from his tent, and began to maul him. Hildebrand immediately responded with a wooden canoe paddle, which he used to strike the bear across the head, twice. The bear retreated to a nearby tree and climbed it part way. Hildebrand remained at the tree while Nicholas, the other campers, and the trip leader boarded canoes. Hildebrand then joined them, and the party evacuated the site. Nicholas was hospitalized for treatment, including surgery, of 25 puncture wounds. He recovered.
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