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Thread: My first charging bear experience...hopefully my last!

  1. #1

    Default My first charging bear experience...hopefully my last!

    There I was, minding my own business, with back pack on gun in hand slowly walking through the woods.

    Let me start at the beginning, please. I started hunting the Petersville area on the 20th of August when season opened. I did a lot of riding around on the six wheeler looking for moose or the tell tell signs where they had been. Little did I know that the bear population has spiked tremendously in the area. All I saw was bear sign EVERYWHERE. When I talked to the locals they were so fed up with the bears they asked me to please 'thin them out' if I could. My next trip in I had all intentions of focusing on bear hunting, then the 6 wheeler broke. Spent the entire weekend getting the 6 wheeled beast back home and into a shop.

    The broken machine did not detour me as I figured I would just hike, stalk and set up on some of the creeks looking and waiting for bears. I parked my truck and headed in to the woods. I had my back pack on gun in hand, acutally I use a safari sling and am very glad I do so. I made it approximately 100 yards in from the road, moving slowly and taking a lot of time. When I came upon a clearing I had stopped and stood still for about 10 seconds when I heard a very loud 'shiiooosh' sound coming from the other side of the tall grass weed filled clearing. Expecting a small moose to pop up I looked with high anticipation as to where the sound came from that's when I saw a small yellow streak move quickly at an angle away from me only to be followed up by a very very large brown object running straight at me!! Her head was as low as it could be, ears pinned back on hear head and she was coming, the grass was getting churned up in the air from her claws digging in so deep and fast. My 460 Weatherby hanging off my shoulders quickly came up in to shooting position, scope covers off, safety off, squeezing trigger as I'm following the my target in the scope coming at me...my grip is getting harder any second now the rifle will go off...keep the brown target in scope....then she makes a dead in her tracks stop, brakes on at about 15 yards from me she stands straight up, ears are out and listening. My hand eases its grip from the trigger but I keep the cross hairs on her chest, both eyes open to see what she does. I figure if she turns and goes after her cubs that's great but if one more step in my direction back to squeezing. She turned her head on her shoulders like an owl and saw one of her cubs standing, looking around trying to figure out what was going on but the cub was safe. She turned and looked at me and saw I had not moved at all. So she turned and left, took a few steps then looked at me and that was the last I saw of her. All this happened in 1.5 seconds (from later reflection).

    I walked out of the woods and crossed over another field that was more than a 100 yards wide so I could feel more comfortable about being there. I wanted to reflect on the situation and learn. What I came up with is what I wish to share.

    1) I was using a very large caliber rifle with, 350 grains barnes X bullets that I shoot very very well. I figured one shot would have done her in and from the distance I was able to start with her I could get two shots off maybe. Ok, she would be nibbling on the barrel for the second shot but I'm very confident that would do it.
    2) I was walking, stalking, going very slowly through the woods, hoping to see something. This leaves me vulnerable to 'jumping' something. So I was thinking about what could happen.
    3) I carry my artillary always at the ready and practice with it there.

    I love hunting bears and I guess all the years I've hunted them and harvested them I increase the odds of this happening, but I do not wish it to happen again.

    Going after bears again this weekend, enjoy your hunting!

  2. #2
    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    Good story! It sounds like you were prepaired and responded well.

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    Should have pulled the trigger if you had a permit. If not you did great as you are here telling us about it!

  4. #4
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    It was a sow with cubs, kgpcr. That would be a no-go.

    Great story Stephenatak, glad youre here to tell us about it

    I've had an experience or two like that and it sure makes you feel ALIVE !!!!

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    Way to react quickly. I always wonder how I would react in the same situation. Hopefully I won't have to find out. Glad everything worked out ok for you.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  6. #6
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    wow!!!!!!!!!!! Did you get your drawers changed. Glad that you are ok and that you didn't have to kill a mama. It's funny that it's a double edge sword. We want to thin the bear population to help out the moose numbers and if you had killed a sow with cubs that would have been 2 or 3 for one. I guess it's the sportman in most of us that just don't want things to go down that way. Monday armchairing, I don't know that I would have waited to pull the trigger. 15 yards is way to close for my comfort zone..

  7. #7
    Member jnalaska's Avatar
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    WOW! and holy crap ta boot!
    I have never been charged on purpose by a bear. last weekend I was at the back of my property by myself early. I was working in the rain and doing quite work. I was bent over picking up logs when I hear a crashing in the woods behind me. I stand up and look over to a full grown black bear running balls out speed straight at me. probably 50 yards when I spot it. When I say full speed I mean full speed as the gap was closed before I could blink and small growth was just thrown out of the way. I raised my arms and yelled WOOOO BEAR!! as it skidded to a stop at about 10 yards away. I relized that the bear had no idea I was there in the first place as its retreat and reaction was imeadiate and it seemed to me to be scared. I called for a clean up on aisle 2. once that was done I did the same thing as you reflected on it to see what I could have done better. heres what I came out with
    1. Never leave your 44 Mag in your truck again. I came to the conclusion that if it was an attack I would have only gotten a shot off as the bear would basically have been on me but it is better than standing there like a scared 6ft4 blond meatcicle.
    2. Never underestimate the speed of a bear. it was truly amazing and frightful. I knew they where fast but once you see it like that it chages your idea of what fast is.

    after it happened I went to the neighbors to share the story and found out that it was on there porch and they smashed 2 pots together at the door next to it. there attempt to scare it off worked! It ran out of there and I happend to be perfectly in its path through the woods about 1000 yards away. my luck

  8. #8
    Member jnalaska's Avatar
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    One more thought. I would have attemted a shot at the charging bear if I would have had my pistol. Things could have gotten intresting and I might have killed myself from wounding the bear. I still want my pistol next time though

  9. #9

    Default "Textbook" PERFECT!

    "Textbook" PERFECT!
    Great job - her actions were pretty typical - unfortunately, yours are not.
    Again - great job.
    Joe (Ak)

  10. #10
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    That's an experience I hope never to gain first-hand knowledge of. Congrats on keeping your cool, and being prepared. next time, I hope it's a record-book boar who has no clue you're there!

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

  11. #11
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I was hunting on Admiralty Island for brown bears, walking across a flat with grass about knee high. a sow with a cub stood up across the flat, about 50 yards, my rifle was in hand and pointed at the ground in front of me, she charged so FAST I could not even get my rifle up to my waist height to fire, she turned at about 15 yards, and she and the cub just ran out of the flat and into the woods, It happened so fast I had to think twice that it really happened, the guide behind me said, Yes that is what happened. Now when ever I am looking at a bear, my rifle is pointed at it if it is within 50 yards. Last spring, I saw 32 Brown bears in one week, the closest was about 6 yards. It did not know I was there, just walked by. Did I say how FAST a bear can run.

  12. #12
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    "Textbook" PERFECT!
    Great job - her actions were pretty typical - unfortunately, yours are not.
    Again - great job.
    Joe (Ak)
    I thought the same thing. Figured that would be a dead bear. Good for you to show restraint.

    Great story!

    Tim

  13. #13

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    Awesome story, shows the rest of us how the best option can sometimes be to slow down and think rather than just react. I'm sure that was a scary experience at the time, but what a story you have now!
    Do something brave today... then run like hell
    ~~~~~~~
    The ideas of tomorrow are fashioned by those who challenge the ideas of today.

  14. #14
    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    I salute your nerves of STEEL.

    Great story. Very happy that you shared it!

    Taylor

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    ditto with marc; that was a great story, and one that gives most of us pause..........life happens at the speed of light. it's great to have a happy ending!
    happy trails.
    jh

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    That memory (experience) will last you a life time.......

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    This is my first post here but I can relate to your situation. A few years ago I was deer hunting in Canada in an area I had hunted for about 5 years. We always saw grizzley tracks but had never actually seen a bear in the area. My one friend who had never been there before kept asking what would happen if we had to kill the bear. I told him to relax we never even had seen one any where around this area. I think he put a curse on me.

    The last day of our hunt my other friend and I were up on the mountain when we heard a shot. Don came on the radio and said he had shot a whitetail. Pete, the guy I was with told him he would come down and give him a hand getting it into camp. I figured we were about out of time and I would hunt across the mountain and drop into camp at dark.

    The day was perfect with 12" fresh snow and the wind was in my face. So here I am sneaking along thinking what a great day it is to be out and I step around a spruce tree and not 50' in front of me is the biggest grizzley I have ever seen. My first reaction was "WOW" till I realized he was sleeping on a kill! Turned out it was a pretty nice mulie. The bear picked up his head looked at me and came at a dead run. I got one shot off into the ground in front of him, got no reaction, started yelling at him and remember trying to pull the trigger again. I had not chambered another round. At 6' ( measured later} he veered off and went right past me. Man, talk about fast! It was over as fast as it started but when I think about it even now it seems like slow motion.

    What happened next we still laugh about now but was not funny at the time. They were sitting in camp and heard my shot. While groaning about me shooting a deer at the last minute I called them on the radio and told them what happened. When asked if I hit the bear I said I would look. Not realizing it, I changed the channel on the radio. About 10 minutes later I noticed it and called them back. You could hear the stress in their voices. I found out later they had gotten the sat phone out and were about to call for help thinking the bear had gotten me.They were also arguing who was going to call my wife.

    I don't know if what I did was right and I do know that second time I would have shot the bear but I honestly don't know if that would have helped at that close distance. In the end it worked out for me and the bear so I guess all is well that ends well.
    Last edited by Jim 1367; 09-13-2010 at 12:11. Reason: mispelling

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