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Thread: Is it that rare to be attacked by a bear in Alaska?

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    Default Is it that rare to be attacked by a bear in Alaska?

    "Nearly all new Alaskans or tourist hunters have this image of bears leaping through the air at them from behind every bush. It isn't going to happen."I read the above statement on another thread about carrying chambered or not, and I have read similar comments on other threads. Although it may be true some times, apparently this was not true in the Summer of 2008 in Alaska!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...081601930.html

    http://www.alaska-bear-viewing.net/bear_attacks.htm

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_w...laska_hav.html

    http://aprn.org/2008/06/30/near-fata...ry-discussion/

    These were just the first few that popped up with a simple Google search about bear attacks in Alaska. I am not getting into the chambered or not conversation again, as that has been covered sufficiently in the other thread. I am saying that I am dubious that bear attacks are as rare as some lead others to believe.

    If the attacks are rare or not, one should be well versed in the use of a proper rifle or handgun if they intend to get out and about in Alaska. To believe otherwise is foolish. I support anyone’s right to be fatalistic, but don’t ask me to be so. I always carry a firearm whether I am back home in the mountains of Colorado or here in Pennsylvania, and especially when I get to Alaska this summer. People are my main concern in all areas, but wild dogs, rabid animals of all sorts, and doubly so for dangerous big animals like bears or moose. You probably will not need it, but if you do, you better have it.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    you need to quit reading those rags back east....

    first getting ate in ANCHORAGE... means they are not really alaskans... and those bears are proably not real bears.....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Been here 38 years and have bushwacked and macheted my way into more creeks then ill ever tell or mention location,,,,and guess what....NO BEAR ATTACKS

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    Quote Originally Posted by danthedewman1 View Post
    Been here 38 years and have bushwacked and macheted my way into more creeks then ill ever tell or mention location,,,,and guess what....NO BEAR ATTACKS

    Good Point! But a beat cop in East LA can say the same thing ... you can bet your life he carrying loaded and hot though!

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    Worry about KILLER Cars and Killer Pick-up Trucks. It is a rare summer week in Alaska that someone does not drown or die in a head-on car crash.

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    I've got the same statistics as Dan...and no attacks. I rarely carried protection while fishing really remote areas and even though I saw a few bears, I never really felt threatened by them.

    I think the biggest protection tool you can carry is common sense. Think about what you are doing and where you are going and keep your eyes open. People also forget other senses like smell... I don't know how many times I have smelled a bear before I ever saw it.

    IMO bear spray is a joke and most handguns won't be effective in the hands that are carrying them (due to lack of proficiency).
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    Is it rare? For sure, but I (a somewhat antisocial introvert) can count 10 people that I know on a personal level or have met, that have been mauled in Alaska, and IIRC only one of those people were in the media in the last few years. There are dozens more that I've never met. I know far more people that have been mauled than have had encounters with robbers or muggers. If I asked those 10 people, I bet less than 75% of them have been in car accidents.

    It all depends on where you spend you time, and where you like to recreate. For those of us that hunt and fish in areas with high bear populations, the odds of being mauled are far greater. For those of us who live and drive in and around major population centers, the odds of being in a wreck are far greater. I spend more time in the woods than I do in my car, and those woods are full of dangerous wildlife. I choose to be prepared while in the woods so I carry a firearm capable of defending myself from a large animal, just like I choose to wear my seatbelt while driving my car.
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I've got the same statistics as Dan...and no attacks. I rarely carried protection while fishing really remote areas and even though I saw a few bears, I never really felt threatened by them.

    I think the biggest protection tool you can carry is common sense. Think about what you are doing and where you are going and keep your eyes open. People also forget other senses like smell... I don't know how many times I have smelled a bear before I ever saw it.

    IMO bear spray is a joke and most handguns won't be effective in the hands that are carrying them (due to lack of proficiency).

    You ain't kidding! I stayed for a week by myself at my brother's cabin which was on a hillside with very tall grass (over 6') From day 2 on, I smelled a very strong wet dog smell when the wind was just right. It curled my toes. Occasionally, I heard the grass rustle in the evenings. While I never had any issues, every time I stepped out to take a leak, I had my 45-70 at the ready, and was kind of nervous taking my hands off of the rifle to hold my gun.

    Looking back it's pretty funny, but I have to say it's one of the most eerie feelings being able to smell a potentially dangerous animal without being able to see it.



    Oh, and BTW, 12 years up here, with a few close observances, and have never needed to defend myself.

    I did however witness something new to me a few years back... while king fishing on Clear Creek, off the Talkeetna, there was a brownie that was a little close and interested in our camp. My buddy pulled out a roman candle, and lit it in his general direction. It was just enough noise and flashing to get him to move on.... pretty slick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bgreen View Post
    Is it rare? For sure, but I (a somewhat antisocial introvert) can count 10 people that I know on a personal level or have met, that have been mauled in Alaska, and IIRC only one of those people were in the media in the last few years. There are dozens more that I've never met. I know far more people that have been mauled than have had encounters with robbers or muggers. If I asked those 10 people, I bet less than 75% of them have been in car accidents.

    It all depends on where you spend you time, and where you like to recreate. For those of us that hunt and fish in areas with high bear populations, the odds of being mauled are far greater. For those of us who live and drive in and around major population centers, the odds of being in a wreck are far greater. I spend more time in the woods than I do in my car, and those woods are full of dangerous wildlife. I choose to be prepared while in the woods so I carry a firearm capable of defending myself from a large animal, just like I choose to wear my seatbelt while driving my car.
    That is very good information and very honest. Thanks!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i always figured there were worse things at home that actually wanted to hurt a person...


    i am what my frineds call a bear magnent. never had a bad encounter yet.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  11. #11

    Smile yup, rare...

    Your best chance to get chewed on by a bear according to the stats for the last 10 years is probably on the Kenai Penn. Seems like 2 or 3 people get chewed on every year. In fact it will probably happen in the month of May to a hiker or jogger. At least thats the way it has been going. I think a sow with cubs is the worst scenario and a bear with a moose kill. Make lots of noise, try to hike in groups in areas with good visability and avoid late night and early morning walks. Get a big rifle and learn to shoot it and enjoy Alaska. Heck, ya only live once!

  12. #12

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    PA.... dude.... if you wanna be preoccupied with bears that is your choice.

    If you wanna do a little research on the subject, you will find that your chance of bear attack is slim to none. The absolute best strategy (and I mean the ABSOLUTE BEST) is to be smart in bear country. The two most frequent bear attack states are Alaska and Montana, and in most cases in Montana, hunters have been attacked by calling and and making themselves appear to be game to griz.

    I live, hunt and backpack in bear country and very rarely see bears, and when I do, they either leave at the speed of light or casually hang around and casually leave. I have backpacked and slept in bear country many nights without gun or spray. No big deal.

    Your chances of needing plastic surgery or even "shewing off" a bear are slim to none. If a gun makes you feel better, cool.... I did the same thing for a few years until I got used to bear country.

    Do some research on the ubject and you'll find out the odds of a bear attack are very small and can be greatly dimished with a little application of gray matter.

    Enjoy your Alaskan experience

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    I do carry a .41 mag and 250 grain cast cores,and a 45-70 with 400 grain handloads ,but never had to use them.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I know 2 people that have been mauled by bear here in Alaska and I know of 4 attacks by moose within ˝ mile of my house alone, I was one of the moose victims in my own yard as I took out the trash one night. I have driven over 600,000 miles over the last 9 years in Alaska and not had a single wreck. Ya the roads are bad and full of stupid drivers, but the woods are just as full of big critters with no fear of humans so where ever you are at in Alaska there are dangers of some kind to look out for.
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    I had to fight off two bears today on the drive across Anchorage. Just another day in the final frontier! Ok maybe they weren't bears, but just slow moving cars. Oh so I didn't fight them off, but just had to wait to pass them. But it was exciting!!!! I might have bear sprayed a driver if anyone had road rage. Does that count?

    Brett

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    I havent ever had a confrontation with a Bear, and I dont know anyone who has.
    Once, a cub and then the Mom were sniffing up my youngest son who was emerging out of the willows to a neighbors yard, after being called up to "See the Bear across the river"....ended with Old Mike comming out the front door with the dinner party watching out the window, when Mike poped the mom in the butt with a .22, as she was 10 feet outside the door, and she jumped over Jon, who then looked at Mike down the barrel of Mikes .22.....She had sniffed his belly and crotch untill Mike shood her away.
    The Next day, Mike cut down all the willows for 100 feet around his house
    She was around for the next 10 years and we havent seen her in 2. Now the "Replacement Bears" are showing up, and I just dont know them as well....
    It seems only out of state people get drug out of tents up this way....maby its the smell.....
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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  17. #17

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    I've seen many bears over the years up close. Never even felt the need to reach for the gun. The odds of something nasty happening, assuming you don't do something stupid, are something like the odds of winning a lottery.

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I bet you'll come up here and not even see a bear. If so, just a glimpse of his backside as he disappears in the brush....

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    Default Don't believe them PA...

    bear attacks aren't rare, & you need to carry a canon with you at all times, & hell, bring a VHF on Military channels to call in air support if the canons can't get 'em...

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    Default The Last Frontier

    I think some peoples testosterone surges when they realize they are in bear country or will be visiting. Especially guys living in a subdivision somewhere with a big gun cabinet wishing they had been born a 150 years ago so they truly could experience wilderness. Heck that last part sounds like me except for the subdivision part! People visit AK because of the "wildness" of the last frontier and the rush of a one in a million encounter with an animal that has the potential to mess them up. Add the people who live here + the peolpe who visit... multiply that by the # of maullings to get the your % / odds on big fuzzy beating you up. If you think your odds are that good you should be in Vegas instead of AK. Youre odds would be greater there of running into a dangerouse 2 legged animal or better yet getting rich in the casinos. I hope AK never loses its allure by losing its wildness to people visiting this great state (or to those who call it home). I call it home and would live nowhere else....except maby British Columbia or Yukon Territories? but I bleed Red White and Blue so I guess thats out
    People who look for trouble have a WAY better chance of finding it Go ahead and dream of those BIG bears that can eat you...bring a BIG gun (if you can use it) and unload it when you get home. You will feel better knowing that its by your side and it will help you release some of that built up testosterone thats been surging in you vanes as you fondle it in front of the campfire looking over your shoulder saying to those who are with you "did you hear that!" Just poking a little you'll love it SOOOO much you wont be content untill you move to "The Last Frontier"
    In the Bush

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