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Thread: Charged by a bear?

  1. #1

    Exclamation Charged by a bear?

    Have you ever been charged by a bear and had to shoot it?

    I hear a lot of opinions on what to use as bear protection (shotgun with just slugs, shotgun with 00 and slugs, pistols, bear spray, etc), but I like to base my decisions on reality. Have you ever stopped a charging bear and with what? Or know a personal story of someone who has?

  2. #2
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default Never

    I have nearly stepped on bears, black and brown, without ever feeling threatened.

    There was one occasion when two juvenile browns were moving in on us from different directions, and, had we not had a helicopter in radio distance, might have checked us out more than we had wanted. There was a definite sense of being "inspected."

    Having said that...

    Up until three weeks ago, I knew 3 people who had been attacked. Now I know 4.

    This is not about bears that charge, but, of bears that have made physical contact.

    Of the four, only one of the bears had been wounded before the attack.

    I know LOTS, and I do mean LOTS of people that claim to have been charged. I always take that with a grain of salt. You don't want to call anyone a liar, but sometimes you want to hear more before you decide what actually happened.

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    I was charged this past fall's hunt. At dusk I surprised a sow with two cubs she spotted me and stood on her hind feet, dropped paused for a few seconds and ran straight at me. Closed the distance fast, when she was about 15 yards away I shot near her (warning shot) she stopped at what I later paced at 10 yards from me. I stood at the ready (338 pointed center mass) she huffed (best word I’ve found to explain the noise she made) and stared me down for what seemed like to long but I imagine it was not long at all. I yelled "GO" at her several times and she finally turned and ran off, two cubs which were only about 10 yards behind her followed her when she ran off.

    I guess to answer your question I have not had to shoot one and this being my third close bear encounter this year, other two were uncomfortable close with my family, I feel that you are generally safe with close bear encounters provided you have some separation and remain calm. However if I had to replay this last charge again I would have shot her, her cubs were really large and she was too close for my comfort. The other two encounters (not charges) this year with my kids and wife were trail encounters, one Brown and her cub retreated quickly when she saw us and a Black Bear would not leave the trail until I fired a warning over her. I can send you additional details and pics of the charge scene if you want to PM me your address. I never expected it to happen where or when it did but a guy always wants to be ready.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I've never been charged, but have seen plenty of bears out in the woods. They generally depart quickly when they spot you. There are too many factors involved to say exactly what will work for all situations.

    I have a friend who was mauled by a brown many years ago. He was sneaking through thick cover on a moose hunt and surprised the bear on a moose kill. He didn't have time to raise his rifle before the bear charged and tackled him. He saved his life by drawing his .44 that he always carried in a shoulder holster and dumping all 6 rounds into the bear while it was chewing on his head. He had the muzzle actually pressed into the side of the bear's chest as he shot. He ended up with skull fractures, but they fixed him up nicely. The bear was never found and wildlife officers assume it wandered into thick cover and died. But having the big bore pistol in an accessible location was a good back-up weapon decision.

    My opinion on bear spray is that it is a hazing deterant. From what I've learned from biologists who have actually used it, it will probably deter a bear who is simply getting too close to "investigate" you. It has less chance of working during a charge and little chance of working when the bear is in "attack mode" as in you are threatening its food or cubs. The danger of the spray is that if you miss, the odor of the pepper actually attracts bears. If the wind isn't right, you'll get hit with the pepper yourself and that's no way to be in a crisis. Further, you pretty much have to have the can in your hand and ready to go prior to the charge.

    I watched a video that a biologist took where he sprayed some bear spray on a stick poking up from the middle of a small stream on the AK Penninsula. He sat back with his video camera and it wasn't long before a brownie came walking up the bank from downwind with his nose in the air. As it passed by the location of the stick, it stopped and started backtracking, then ventured right out to that stick and proceeded to chew on it and rip it out of the stream bed. That pepper would make good bear bait, which would make me nervous about using it when you might be attracting other bears in to you.

    The 00 buck issue has been argued to death. Forget about 00 buckshot for bear protection. It is not a lethal round and the theory that its supporters use is that you might take out his eyes and bloody his nose which might stop him from killing you. However, I find this logic to be seriously lacking. For one thing, this means you are planning on seriously wounding the animal. That is unethical and in poor judgement. I believe in 2 choices; deterrance or destruction.

    If you can deter a curious bear at a distance with non-lethal choices such as "Deer Thumper" bean bags or explosive "Cracker" rounds, all the better. I keep a couple of these on my shotgun sidesaddle and will load the round I want right before shooting. Bears learn quickly and it usually doesn't take more than 1 good hit in the arse with a bean bag to teach them not to mess with you. Crackers are less effective and really only work if you can place it on the ground between you and the bear and close enough that he can smell the powder when it goes off. I've watched bears totally ignore cracker rounds that burst overhead and more than 15-20 yards away. If you get it within 5 yards, it will usually get their attention. What they do after that is variable.

    We had a small brownie show up at our house last spring and was attempting to scale the side of the house to get to the bird feeder. He had already visited our neighbor who senslessly keeps the dog food stored on the deck. Anyhow, a single hit with a bean bag to the chest and he took off so fast there was a shock wave and a brown streak. He's never returned to our neighborhood again, even though the neighbor still keeps the dog food outside.

    The last resort is destruction, so you want something that is going to do the job quickly. This is where the Brenekke slug comes in. That's what my shotgun is filled with and I've practiced the action of dropping to a knee and dumping a slug into center mass with a time goal of less than 2 seconds. It's not that hard to do, but it should be practiced. The action of dropping down is actually showing submission to the bear, which is generally what they want anyhow. Biologists say this action will stop the charge. Yet, I know of very few stories and have no personal info that this will work. Distance and the bear's determination will dictate how this situation plays out. But the 12g slug is a definite bear-stopper, as are a number of other rifle rounds, just remember to aim.

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    Long story short.....yes I have and as I stood my ground to make sure it wasnt a mock charge I did what I had to do.oh! did I mention that one was a small 6 footer also and after nine days of salting it its now five and half foot?
    All kiding aside Beng! I was real close to have been taken If I didnt check my back trail she would have got me.Daniel

  6. #6

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    I have had many encounters with bears in the wild and most will mock charge but there's always that one that might come full on, that happened to me in the Brooks about 14 years ago. After 10 warning shots she would not leave our camp which was many, many miles from the nearest road. It was a sad thing for us to have to do but it was her or us so we drew the line, she crossed it and wehad no choice but to put her down. It happens more often than you know but you only hear about the actual attacks where people get injured or killed. My best advice is give them a chance to back off but be prepared to do what you might have to do. I also had another encounter with 2 bears about 3 weeks ago while float hunting caribou but this one ended well for both us and the bears, though it was a very dicey situation, several warning shots were fired and they eventually left us alone.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    shot and killed one black bear that charged and one grizzly that was wounded and charge my client, the grizz was shot with a 338 adn the blackie with a .416, i'll carry bear spray (and a handgun) if bears are outa season of if i'm alone, but if i've got other people i need to be watching it'll always be a rifle, never 00, maybe slugs, but when i need to shoot i'd better hit what i need to shoot.
    Whatever you choose to use....might want to actually practice, very few folks do, they carry a 500 smith or a shotgun with 3 in slugs but they've never actually tried to reherse, take a tennis ball and throw it up a hill and have it roll down to you, or stand in a river and have a stick float towards you and just shoot the crap outa it, its not half as fast as a bear but you'll get the feel for shooting at something moving towards you, obviously the faster the river the better the practice.

    and of course, the best bear deterant is your head....
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  8. #8

    Default yes

    I have been charged at once. From my experience most bears will not stick around once they have seen you. But when you startle one up close or there is food involved I think that changes the story.
    When I was charged it was a matter of surprise. I was walking a rather small trail on a fishing trip. As I reached the top of a small hill, there was a 7-8' brown bear laying in the middle of the trail ahead. Before I even had time to realize it was there (it was about 2am and rather dark) he was on his feet and charging. I was armed only with my fishing pole, so i started to wave my arms and yell at him very loud. He stopped at about 10-15' in front of me, he was huffing, snapping his teeth and swatting at the ground. I was still yelling and slowly moving backwards. Luckily he was only bluffing, it was his way of letting me know I was in his area. I made my way around the trail and continued on my way.

    The one thing that sticks out in my mind most about my run in was how fast a bear is. He was out around 60-70 yards and closed in seconds. If i had a gun, i may have had to use it, but i know for sure that I would of only been able to squeeze of two shots at the most. Oh and bring a back up par of boxers in your pack.
    Thats my story

  9. #9

    Default thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by SoggyMountain View Post
    I have nearly stepped on bears, black and brown, without ever feeling threatened.
    This is generally what I hear and have experienced in my 3-4 personal encounters.

  10. #10
    Member Ken R's Avatar
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    Default twice

    First time was out bowhunting for bears and stumbled on sow with 2 yr cub. Short charge and some huffing at 15 yards, but as soon as the cub came back to her they left huffing all the way. No backup weapon that time--just the bow. I vowed that wouldn't happen again. Next year, same situation but with different results. She came from 40 yards and no bluff this time. I hit her with a shotgun slug at point blank range-she veered off and came in again and knocked me down while reloading. I was fighting her off with my feet when I got the shotgun reloaded and shot her again while she had hold of my calf. I shot her once more when she backed off and she went into the brush and died. I was lucky--the first shot ricocheted off the breast bone and broke her shoulder--kept her from getting me any worse. Ended up with some scars on my leg and a story to tell. Always carry that shotgun while bowhunting now....

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    Default Reloading?

    Ken:

    What do you mean by "reloading"? Single shot our the time to rack a pump?

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    Quote Originally Posted by beng View Post
    This is generally what I hear and have experienced in my 3-4 personal encounters.
    My boss's boss ran into a grizzly last week while hunting moose. The bear charged alright ...out of the water he was in and straight into the woods! Exciting, but the bear definitely preferred just getting out of Dodge. I would liked to have seen that.

    Brian

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Yes, last year on Kodiak. Only because I was making it hurt.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    My boss's boss ran into a grizzly last week while hunting moose. The bear charged alright ...out of the water he was in and straight into the woods! Exciting, but the bear definitely preferred just getting out of Dodge. I would liked to have seen that.

    Brian
    Nice...and that's my point. Often perception has more to do with a "charge" than the animal's behavior.

    I saw a brown bear jump into the Russian River not more than three or four feet from a fisherman. And... He JUMPED INTO THE RIVER like a lab after a stick! When he realized that he had landed right next to a person, he bolted across the creek and up the opposite bank. As I approached the man was still frozen in his stance... all he could say was "DID YOU SEE THAT!?"

    On the same stretch of river years later I ran across 3 guys running down the trail. They told us a bear was chasing them. This was the same year the guy got slapped by the brownie atop the stairs AFTER MIDNIGHT.

    I asked, "brown or black?"

    They told me it was black, on the opposite bank, and woke up running toward them!

    There was no doubt in my mind that the bear woke up to chase a splashing fish. So, I took my friend's daughter upstream to watch. We got 30 minutes (at least) of prime viewing including several swims.

    Bears do charge, bears will eat you, but, situations and circumstances have quite a bit to do with behavior.

  15. #15

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    I was charged by a grizzly two years ago on Pt. Mckenzie. I Was walking back to my truck at a pretty fast pace along a trail around 10 pm and suddenly heard one barking at me very close by. I stopped and pointed my rifle towards where I heard the bark and it suddenly charged me from my left side. It seemed to come out of nowhere. The bear never got any closer than about 20 feet and basically left as fast at it came! There was barely any light left and I really could'nt see the bear that good. He definetly warned me before charging but I had almost no time to react. After it took off, I headed back to my truck, put on a fresh pair of underwear and drove home!

  16. #16

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    Never been charged by a bear but I was charged by a moose mama... got inbetween her and her two calfs on a island in mid kenai .... She came within 7 feet of me.... And charged 2 other people from our party- My step dad has his 12 guage ready with renekies i believe but didnt want to take the shot and leave the two deserted unless he really had to... came pretty close; another party member had a .45 aimed at the moose and it came within 15 feet of him? Happened extremely fast... theyre much bigger close up

  17. #17
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default moose

    I would be more worried about a bad moose encounter than a bear encounter any day. Bears, being very smart and at the top of the food chain, have a completely different demeanor than moose. The moose is reacting in a purely defensive manner and isn't going to give any "thought" to what they are doing. It perceives you as a threat and goes into "fight or flight" mode to save itself or its calves. And I'm sure we've all see the video of the guy at UAA that was killed by the moose a few years back. They are big and deadly, especially in the urban/suburban settings.

  18. #18
    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Red face Like Bryan19...but I wouldn't call it a charge.

    I was "approached" my first year going to Chitina. I had asked some folks from work who had dipped at Chitina for years if there was bear problems...and the repeated answer was no, the water is too fast. Well where we dip it is too fast, but not near the fish wheels where I decided to fillet my fish.

    I was dipping in August, and started filleting about 3am by light of a lantern ( I know I know...who in the heck would do this, right?) and as the sun was just starting to rise and there was just a gray light coming over the area, I looked to my left (up river) for no reason at all to see a grizzly on a easy gallop towards me at about 125 yds. It was a younger bear, probably 3 or 4 yrs old and I later guessed it had been checking the fish wheels when it smelled the reds I had been filleting. Being the first time I had been charged, and knowing my little 8" fillet knife didn't give a me a chance to defend myself...and believing he only wanted the fish, I made my move for the vehicle (and dropped the fillet knife by the way) about 25 feet in front of me. Then about 1/2 way to the car, I stopped, raised my hands over my head (6'3 245lbs) and yelled as loud as I could "Go away bear"... That bear now at about 50-60 yds hit the "E-Break" and went into the near by woods. Surprised the dickens out of me.

    Three things happened.... #1. A lot of explicit words flew out of my mouth about what just happened and how stupid I was for trying to stop him from getting the fish. #2. I became a firm believer in getting as big as you can and yelling and remaining calm(besides the running to the car and dropping the only weapon I had, LOL) #3. Bears are everywhere, no need ask anyone, just be prepared and be cautious.

    I didn't need to change my shorts...I had just gone right before I started filleting, but I might of needed to had I not.

    Sure glad I can laugh about my initial reaction and talk about it today.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    I was "approached" my first year going to Chitina. I had asked some folks from work who had dipped at Chitina for years if there was bear problems...and the repeated answer was no, the water is too fast. Well where we dip it is too fast, but not near the fish wheels where I decided to fillet my fish.

    I was dipping in August, and started filleting about 3am by light of a lantern ( I know I know...who in the heck would do this, right?) and as the sun was just starting to rise and there was just a gray light coming over the area, I looked to my left (up river) for no reason at all to see a grizzly on a easy gallop towards me at about 125 yds. It was a younger bear, probably 3 or 4 yrs old and I later guessed it had been checking the fish wheels when it smelled the reds I had been filleting. Being the first time I had been charged, and knowing my little 8" fillet knife didn't give a me a chance to defend myself...and believing he only wanted the fish, I made my move for the vehicle (and dropped the fillet knife by the way) about 25 feet in front of me. Then about 1/2 way to the car, I stopped, raised my hands over my head (6'3 245lbs) and yelled as loud as I could "Go away bear"... That bear now at about 50-60 yds hit the "E-Break" and went into the near by woods. Surprised the dickens out of me.

    Three things happened.... #1. A lot of explicit words flew out of my mouth about what just happened and how stupid I was for trying to stop him from getting the fish. #2. I became a firm believer in getting as big as you can and yelling and remaining calm(besides the running to the car and dropping the only weapon I had, LOL) #3. Bears are everywhere, no need ask anyone, just be prepared and be cautious.

    I didn't need to change my shorts...I had just gone right before I started filleting, but I might of needed to had I not.

    Sure glad I can laugh about my initial reaction and talk about it today.
    I know a guy who had that EXACT same thing happen to him! JUST like that!

    Brian

  20. #20
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Been charged twice. Once when I was walking through the woods. I was using the bathroom when this black bear came out and would not leave me alone. It kept clacking it's jaws as it moved closer to me. It got with in 10 when I had enough and shot the bear. The second time I was loading up my bait barrel when a sow with a cub came at me. This time I just climb a tree and fired a shot at the ground and the noise ran her off. YES if the bear stood up she would of been even with me in the tree. This was a grizzly.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
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