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Thread: Had a stare down with a Griz last night...

  1. #1
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    Default Had a stare down with a Griz last night...

    My buddie and I have had a couple bait stations out for a few weeks. Had one blackie hit early on (we suspect). Buddy got his station setup with a game cam and 2 weeks ago he had a griz. Well, last night I skootched on in there to sit in my stand which takes me by his station. Had a little excitement....


    He was on one of our our bait station as I snuk in alone… well I did have my pistols I got to where I should have been able to see the blue barrel, it had been moved and I could only see a little bit of blue. I thought I caught a glimpse of movement but there was a good breeze and the brush was moving. I froze for a few then took a step or two to my right to get a different angle and wouldn’t you know it, snapped a twig. About that time I caught sight of part of a head and an ear maybe 25yds out, then 2 ears, dark… then they started coming my way and the light hit and I saw it was brown and then could see the head. He was walking straight towards me. I don’t know if he heard me and came to see if I was dinner or if he just happened to start heading my way. I suspect he heard me and figured I might be moose. I picked a tree and figured if he didn’t change directions by the time he got there I was gonna have to let him know I was there, then it’d be up to him what was gonna happen next. He took a few more steps, I hollered.. HEY!!! GET ON OUTTA HERE!!! He stopped, perked his head up and looked straight at me, I holler again, standing tall and move my shoulders side to side some and wait… stare down… what’s he gonna do?… am I gonna have to shoot?…I’ve got the 454 Redhawk on him… I’m looking a griz in the eye at 20-25yds… stare down... it’s his call... probably 3-5 seconds go by and he turns and bolts through the brush back the way he came past the bait… HOLY SMOKES!!!!


    He was good sized, bigger than the one on my wall. I can’t say how big by weight or anything but his head looked small compared to his body and ears looked small. Definitely a mature adult Griz. Not legal to shoot griz over bait here yet in this part of the state but next year it will be. If I’d have had to shoot and killed the bear, I’d have had to skinned it and turned the hide and skull over to Fish and Game as a DLP Bear (Defense of Life or Property). I’m glad he decided to turn instead of keep coming.


    Sure wish it would have been a black bear. This griz is messing up our black bear hunting.


    What a way to spend an evening. Just 3 hrs earlier I was napping on my couch before dinner! I love Alaska.
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Glad to went your way my friend. Way to keep your cool in a scary situation.
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    Default Had a stare down with a Griz last night...

    Decent size boar had kept the black bears off my bait for the last 3 weeks, I'm about done feeding him...

    Glad your story ended well!


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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Poopy drawers moment! Glad you kept your cool. That would of been the night for me. Back home and have a stiff drink
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    I posted this on a few forums not at all to "brag" about "facing down" a griz, holy cow, he was the one in charge! But rather just to share the unique experience and perhaps open discussion about bear (and human) behavior.


    Ya it was one of those Alaska wild experiences. If you spend enough time in woods here sooner or later you're gonna face one down. Many other guys around here have. For me it's the first time in that kind of a situation. I've had other bear situations but this one had some unique elements. As we were looking at each other waiting for someone to do something, I knew it was his call and that he was in control of the situation. I guess I could have pulled the trigger but at that point he had responded to my presence by stopping. That was a good sign. All I could do was be ready to react. Gladly he decided I wasn't what he/she was expecting and it went no further.


    We have many discussions about “the best bear defense gun” but bear defense doesn’t start with a gun. It starts with the brain and how to apply Bear Aware/Defense knowledge in a given situation. Having said that, I know bears are unpredictable and every situation is different, but there are some things that can help us if we take the time to learn them, talk about them and keep them at the front of our mind when heading into bear country. On that note, here are some things to think about…


    I keep replaying this and thinking about it and trying to learn from it.


    First off, since I was in a bear hunting mode I was doing what one is NOT supposed to do regarding being Bear Aware-Bear Defense. I was being quiet, sneaking through the woods.


    If I had have just been hiking or heading to the berry patch with the Wifey, I’d have been yelling now and again and who knows, that bear may have made himself scarce. But, since he was on food, maybe he’d have stood his ground to defend it. Or perhaps just moved off a ways and waited. We don’t know.


    It’s entirely possible that I could have snuck up on that bear as he was lying in the brush “sitting” on his food away from the bait. Like how they bury a kill, move off a ways and sit on it. That could have been ugly. Or perhaps if he’d winded me, he could have circled around to see who/what was moving in on his action or, just bolted outta there. Again we don’t know. I was constantly checking my perimeter as I was walking along but we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads! He could have hunted me like that.


    The Bears Perspective…


    So the bear was on the bait enjoying himself. There are fresh moose calves in the woods this time of the year. He’s eating popcorn and dogfood and hears a pop-snap in the woods. Probably like he’s heard many times, a sound that signals Moose! Time to go have a look! He’s walking along sniffing things out and all of the sudden a loud, strange, authoritative noise messes up his serenity. Accompanied by a strange looking tall something that looks nothing like moose and it’s standing it’s ground. He has found what he was checking out. Now he’s in “fight or flee” mode. Who knows what he was thinking but he reacted to his situation by fleeing. I do know that I was not what he expected to hear or see. That was a good thing. Maybe the element of him being surprised by something out of the norm kicked his “flee” button.


    My perspective…


    When I stepped on the twig, I saw the head/ear pop up and he immediately started my way. Not a run but a determined walk. Not a posture of defense or offense necessarily. He was in “check it out” mode. This I believe was the crucial moment that determined the rest of the situation. If I didn’t know any better, and would have started running or even backing off and he saw me… then from his perspective it’s game on! Time to pursue and see what we’ve got here! For us, it’s the “fight or flee” syndrome. Don’t flee, stand!


    Ok, so the choice of not to flee but to stand. Then what?? I’m standing there with gun, cocked and aimed at this bear walking towards me through the brush. I can only see the top of his head/back as he’s coming to check me out. The big questions are…. Do you shoot? When do you shoot? I heard an answer to this question years ago from a well known, well experienced bear expert that teaches Bear Aware/Defense and has studied encounters for years. This stuck with me… His practical answer was “pick a land mark of some sort and determine that if he steps any closer you’re gonna shoot.” That ‘comfort zone” can be different for each of us. It’s gonna depend on the bear, the shooter, the gun, etc. Some guys can tell the difference between a bluff charge and a real one. I don’t have enough experience. I value my life more than the life of a bear so for me, there is no such thing as a bluff charge. Even if he’d just have continued walking my way after I hollered, I’d have started shooting. Because he would have been in my zone, he left food come check me out and I’m not gonna second guess myself. I’d have felt threatened at that point. If he’s in my zone I’m gonna shoot. Better a dead bear than a dead me. Someone else may see it different, others may have started shooting the minute the bear started approaching. I won’t judge anothers decision of when to shoot. We all have our own comfort zones. I only know what mine is.


    peace
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again

  6. #6
    Member Happily's Avatar
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    very good write up and insight. As a teenager in wyoming I had a stare down with a very large chocolate bear at around 7 feet distance between us. I was blowing a carlton's calf elk call and We both peaked around a bush at each other at the same moment and froze. I had shot a blackie that came to our horses while calling the night before which came at us after the first shot and had to fill it full of lead and break a couple shoulders to slow it down. Anyway staring at the chocolate I said "oh %$$" quietly as I clicked the safety off with the gun at my hip. I would shoot if need be but was positive he'd still get a little taste of me at that distance. We stared for probably around 5-6 mins although I'm sure it was 5-6 seconds and I took a slow step backward and snapped a twig. I saw a flash as he whirled around and straight vanished in thin air. I scraped my shorts and looked off the drop off where he went and he was Gone. So I started moving off the other direction and saw a smaller blackie take off running away. A couple weeks later I called another blackie to my horse in broad daylight so when I got home I threw that elk call in the trash. Back then I had no idea they could be so delicious

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    Browns or Grizzlies sort of take your breath away when you 'walk up' on them, don't they? I had a similar encounter once when I was duck hunting - walking along a small stream to a pond I knew of not far off...had my dog at heel in case we jumped some big fat mallards out of the stream (they love those salmon eggs). All of a sudden 'BAM' up stands a brown bear on his hind legs not 15 yds away - he whoofs at us, I very quietly tell my dog to 'heel' (thank GOD she well trained!) and avert my gaze to the ground at the bear's feet. He dropped to all fours and all I could see was his head sticking above the willows. I talked, but did not yell... I very slowly to one step backwards, then another, and another - I think during this time, the bear was doing the same LOL.. When I felt 'safe' I turned around and walked back home.
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  8. #8

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    The woods would not be the same without the bears....they always make things more exciting....I have been baiting for 7 weeks and have had 2 small black bears and one small brown bear come in...they are not staying and eating, they just smell and leave???
    Last edited by Oneriver; 06-17-2014 at 10:17. Reason: thought I would add more

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