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Thread: How quick is a charging bear... really ?

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    Default How quick is a charging bear... really ?

    We all have seen them, threads asking: What is the best bear defense caliber, Which caliber has the most stopping power "Xmagnum" or "Bmediumbore", Should I carry a 12ga for bear defense or a superduper handgun ?

    I have never been charged by a bear but I have had many encounters, and of those encounters, I am certain that the way I handled some them prevented a charge or attack, that I believe is what is most often important, not how big or capable the gun is for it is merely a tool being weilded by you.

    Consider a scenario where you are enjoying the beatiful weather, the sound of nature and water rushing down the stream you now are following , you are armed with the Whizbang Trainstopper Caliber of all time, you round a bend along the stream and as you clear the brush you encounter a large brown bear, it is surprised and instanly goes into defense mode and charges at you form 30 yards, its' intent is deadly!


    Have you considered this event as a real possibility, or are you just bearanoid ?

    Will you have time to take action ?


    Do you have anyone else with you, are they loved ones ?

    What do you do and will you really be able to do it ?

    I have seen videos of real charges and real defense actions of some of those charges. I also have seen other events that I think very comparable to how quick a bear moves as well as the science that has measured such a thing.

    Lets hear from those on all sides: those who have been charged and how it was handled, those who who have given this a great deal of thought to the degree they are confident in their reaction, and those with the Whizbang Trainstopper Caliber of all time confidence, yet lack real bear encounter experience.

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    36 paces, got two shots off from a 454 pistol, if the second shot hadn't of hit him I would have never got a third one off. I can still see how red his eyes got after they meet mine, I learned a good lesson that day a pistol is a "false item of confidence". after that indecent, I have second thoughts on how easy it would be to quick draw a bear.

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    Been there done that fishing on Troublesome Creek. Waist deep in water rounded a corner and on a sand bar jutting from some alders was a large boar interior grizzly eating a really nice King @ less than 30 yds. Now we have the worst of both worlds ! A fly rod isn't much protection. My bear took offence to my presence, pinned his ears back, looked straight at me and with quarterhorse speed lunged off the sand bar towards me. By now I is was yelling at the bear and waving my hands. The bear stopped at about 12 feet and turned around, shook off on the sand bar, Looked at me picked up his salmon and walked off into the brush. I backed slowly out the way I came, until I got to the car, Ate lunch changed my tackle boxes, and went fishing again with my brother.
    Now, I carry my 44 Mag.; it yells louder than I do. Had I had my handgun with me at that time I'm sure the outcome would have been a little different as I would have had to fill out a DLP or a body bag. It all happened in less than 10 seconds though; IF it took that long.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    Premium Member AZinAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FullFreezer View Post
    36 paces, got two shots off from a 454 pistol, if the second shot hadn't of hit him I would have never got a third one off. I can still see how red his eyes got after they meet mine, I learned a good lesson that day a pistol is a "false item of confidence". after that indecent, I have second thoughts on how easy it would be to quick draw a bear.
    What's the rest of the story! We need the beginning and end...that sounded like the middle. Great thread so far, thank goodness I have nothing to post from experience. Though I'm sure my day will come.

    AZinAK

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    At full charge and thirty yards there is no time to climb only hope it stops around ten yards out which they often do.If its comming all the way a good shot with anything is your only hope and keep pulling the trigger till its over. You have to make the choise and hope its correct.Luckily most are bluffs and some even past the ten yard point. Test show a man with a knife can get you before most can draw and shoot if with-in 21'
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I watched as a blackbear sow with a cub ambush a pursuing boar.

    The boar had been following the sow and cub for the better part of two days on the mountain across the valley from me, providing ample time to watch their movement patterns. Where ever the sow and cub went, the boar followed within half an hour or less. She got tired of the chase and set the cub up into a clift for protection, then circled uphill above her own trail. When the boar entered the ambush zone, the sow used the terrain and vegitation to conceal her charge. Once she launched the attack, she covered approximately 50 yards in two or three seconds. I do not think the boar ever seen her until she hit him, his head never turned uphill toward her approach.

    The sow slammed into the left rib cage of the boar, driving/rolling him down hill into the alders. Several minutes later she reemerged from the alders alone, gathered the cub from the clifts and left the area. I never seen the boar after that, he did not follow the path the sow left.

    Had the same senario been replayed with a person in the place of the boar, I do not think one would have had the time to engage a weapon.

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    while skinning a bow hunters caribou my pack dog alerted us to something approaching from downwind. Picked up my loaded rifle and took a few steps toward the creek. Told my hunter to get his bow ready incase it might be a boar grizz. Seconds later just across the stream I notice a grizz coming through the willows to the edge of the creek. then a second later another slightly larger one. Oh %$?( a sow and a cub. Yell as loud as I can " go away bear". Sow in the back swats her cub out of the way and charges from less than 40 yds with the cub trailing her. 2 strides and she has covered over 10 yds. Pull the trigger and nothing happens. Push the safety forward and the bolt handle down thinking to myself "oh &*&? this is gonna hurt". By this time she has reached my dog who is about 5 yds in front of me. As she turned broadside to swat at him (and missed as he ducked under her blow as a boxer would) I was able to put a bullet through her just behind the front quarters. At the first shot her 2 yr old cub did a 180 and ran away.It knocked her over but she was up again immediately and coming at me in mid air as the second bullet caught her square in the chest. The second bullet stopped her in mid air and she died there 3 steps in front of me. when I looked back to check on my hunter I expected to see him 50 yds away and still running but instead he was only a couple feet behind me with an arrow raised over his head ready to stab the bear. During this time I felt calm, cool and collected and everything seemed to be in slow motion. A minute later and the adrenalin kicked in as we discussed and filmed what had just taken place.

    so my opinion is that at 30 yds you might get 1 shot away if you can do it in less than 2 seconds. Thanks to my dog I was given an extra second.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    I know some on this board have been "touched" by the food chain champion and have the scars to prove it... we would love to hear about them,.,.. don't go making them buy the book.. You know who you are and most on here can guess,.lol

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    I think this video is about as close as I can come to your scenario.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMbnmLLnsfw

    I know we have seen it before. But it always gets my heart pounding.

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    It just so happens that I wandered across that very video yesterday, I knew it was coming so, you have to figure they were ready as well. **** exciting all the same !

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    Just last fall I was charged by a brown bear. It turns out...they are plenty quick, not to be taken for granred.

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    I have been charged once and new the brown bear was coming since I could hear it growling and the alders breaking. It came through into an opening at approx 15 feet and I got off one shot hitting it in the face then it did a 180 and I got off a second shot into its back dropping the bear. I was using a Remington mod 700 in 35 whelen. My brother in law was behind and to my right and he emptied his 454 Redhawk but never hit the bear.

    I have been in the woods twice after wounded black bears and had to put them down at close range as well. The first was years ago with a 308 win the bear was laying there with a solid lung shot the other hunter put another round into it at 10 feet and it suddenly regained its wind and was on its feet running straight away faster than I could blink, pulled up my rifle set the cross hairs on the back of its head and squeezed the trigger dead right there. The second one was a few years ago in the dark with a gut shot blackie. Followed the blood trail and tracks when it stood up out of its bed in front of me at CLOSE range I put two shots into it with my 300 win mag and it hit the ground for good.

    The only other close encounter I have had was an interior grizz that stood up in front of my wife and I as we were glassing. We both heard it in the brush but thought it was our dog so we didn't pay attention till there was a grizz standing on its hind legs right in front of us. Neither of us had a gun on us as they were sitting up the hill in camp. Luckily for us the bear dropped down on all fours did a 180 and ran straight away with its 3 cubs. If we had had a gun on us that incident might have ended up a lot different with a possible dlp. Looking back on it I am glad we did not shoot her. My wife got me a new holster for my 44 and I now carry it almost all the time and don't leave my rifle out of arms reach anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph View Post
    I watched as a blackbear sow with a cub ambush a pursuing boar.

    The boar had been following the sow and cub for the better part of two days on the mountain across the valley from me, providing ample time to watch their movement patterns. Where ever the sow and cub went, the boar followed within half an hour or less. She got tired of the chase and set the cub up into a clift for protection, then circled uphill above her own trail. When the boar entered the ambush zone, the sow used the terrain and vegitation to conceal her charge. Once she launched the attack, she covered approximately 50 yards in two or three seconds. I do not think the boar ever seen her until she hit him, his head never turned uphill toward her approach.

    The sow slammed into the left rib cage of the boar, driving/rolling him down hill into the alders. Several minutes later she reemerged from the alders alone, gathered the cub from the clifts and left the area. I never seen the boar after that, he did not follow the path the sow left.

    Had the same senario been replayed with a person in the place of the boar, I do not think one would have had the time to engage a weapon.
    I just finished reading an article about bear's eyesight in the current issuue of Bear hunting lots of scientific mumbo jumbo, but one thing I read that I believe from experience is that even tho bears can see equaly as good as us tthey will almost always trust there nose over what they see.
    The Black bear in the story came within 10 yards of a sow as sh had doubled back, he didn't even lookjust kept smelling her trail.

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    I watched a blackbear take out my dog 15 feet in front of me. I threw two rocks at it an hit it with a big stick while it was chewing away. I realized that was dumb and ran for my life as the bear drug the dog under a tree. Somebody ELSE shot the bear through both lungs and it climbed straight up a tree 20 feet. Another shot and it fell out of the tree, another shot in the head. I put the dog out of his misery with yet somebody else's pistol. My shotgun was in the truck as I did not have a pistol yet. That situation may or may not happen again, but it will not happen again without a firearm in my hand. When I am in bear country I have an easily accessible pistol. Looking back, I was in a good position to see the bear come out of the trees. I MIGHT have been able to get a shot off, but I doubt it if I was not holding the gun already. At the the very least I could have defended myself and not relied on other unknown campers on Skilak Lake. I think you need to be alerted to the presence of the bear first. If it is a quick OMG what just happened, you probably will not have time to draw point a shoot.

    In two instances bears have run in front of the car and kept running down the road. We got to look at the speedometer both times. A little black bear ran 30mph and a big griz 35mph flat out. That might be some data on how just how fast is a bear charge.

    I talked to an old timer last week. He has a 44 mag belt buckle and likes to shoot his guns. He has some sort of a rig set up to roll a ball down a hill and tries to shoot it before it gets to him. I don't think a ball rolls fast enough to simulate a charge and also do not think I would be able to hit it either.

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    Last summer, while camping on Kenai lake with my wife and dogs we both witnessed a charge and attack that ended in death. The reason I mention this is just how quickly it happened, and the distance in which it happened with the victim full aware the threat was nearby.

    One of my dogs, a 9 year old akita mix was lying down on the gravel beach watching a squirrel up in a tree. The squirrel decided to come down the tree and cross the ground to another tree 20 yards away. The squirrel hit the ground at full tilt running toward the target tree, for the squirrel was fully aware of the dog's presence, before the squirrel made 10 yards our dog was up from a lying down position and covered 30 yards to capture the squirrel in her jaws killing it instantly, in less than 2 seconds.

    As a general rule both dogs and bears can move of speeds 30-35mph. Witnessing that event really made a serious impression upon me as to what I might expect should I experience the charge of a bear with deadly intent.

    Generaly the reaction time of a human being is .5 seconds. Given that if one was fully aware of the charge as soon as it began from that distance, the bear would cover approx 1/3rd of the distance, a shot rings, did it find its mark ? Now the bear is 10 yards away at 35mph, maybe you can cycle the action and get a sight picture.... maybe you can pull the trigger and put the bullet into the bear where it will be instant death at your feet... maybe.


    Of all the accounts I have heard of, seen on video, or read about at that distance, never have I heard of more than 2 shots being fired, sometimes one shot hits the animal or the noise/muzzle blast causes it to veer off or turn away, even fewer kill the charging bear.

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    Default Very Fast

    I was bowhunting bears in Cordova--stumbled into a sow/cub on my way back--in the dark. Cub was about 10 yards and sow at 40 yards. The cub ran and momma came out at 40 yards--I had a shotgun on my back. I barely had time to get it off my back, jack in a round (slugs) and hit her right at the end of the barrel. It wasn't enough--she still knocked me down and I shot her again as she bit into my left leg a few times. The second shot did it--I hit her once more as she backed off and she ran into the brush--with three slugs in her. They are tough when the adrenaline is going. She died about 15 yards into the brush. I may have been fumbling on the first shot--I can't remember, but I know she covered that 40 yards pretty fast.

    bear_bite_3.jpg

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    The dog comment brings up a good point. Bears are every bit as fast as a dog. My only really close bear encounter resulted in me being knocked down and thankfully not chewed on. It was a small blackbear and he came charging out of the alders right in front of me. I'm not even sure if he was attacking me and I'm not sure if I fell over or was brushed over...it was all just a blur. The bear was so small my first thought was "what is a rottweiler doing out here" about 1 millisecond before he reached me. My hand never even made it to the butt of my pistol.

    I have been attacked by two dogs. One gave me plenty of warning and circled around me and I was able to fend him off with a prism pole (surveying tool). The second happened in my lumber yard. A large pittbull decided to jump out of the back of a customer's truck. He took one look at me and charged. I was 30 yards away. This was a serious deal with his lips curled and ears back. Not a single sound out of him. I happened to have a 4' long 2x4 in my hand and tee'd off on his head. That bought me enough time to think again, so I smoked him again hard enough to break the board. Luckily, he was out of the fight and the owner was yelling at him. I shoot handguns quite a bit, even a couple action pistol events in the summer. There is NO way I could have cleared leather and got off an aimed shot in the time it took for that dog to get to me.

    Guns are still good. There are still a lot of bear charges that happen when you know the bear is there and you're ready. The other ones you just need to have good luck on your side.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Sow, two cubs (small yearlings). She covered 50 yds in about the time it tokk me to reach to my rifle, and bring it to my shoulder. At that moment she hit the brakes (about 5yds). I'd have shot her but I didn't have a round chambered. Was working on that part...but that's how quick it happened. AMAZING how fast it happens. And if you don't start the mental "plan" right from the get go...you waited to long.
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  19. #19

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    A few years back I was moose hunting in waist-high brush, and went to look where I saw ravens circling in an area where someone had shot at and missed a moose earlier. At 15 yards I saw a wallow hollowed out under an alder. In that country, that means "bear". Sure enough, here he comes out from the alders. Nice brown bear, about 8-1/2 foot. He looked like a dog on the end of his chain that's trying to get to you: Hair standing straight up, mouth wide open. Generally menacing, and very fast, coming right for me.

    I usually don't hunt with a chambered round, so I chambered one in the the old .375. Fairly calm, since there is no time to panic. After working the bolt, he was 3 feet off the end of the gun barrel. No time to shoulder the gun, no need for careful aiming. I pulled the trigger, and heard the loudest sound I've ever heard: CLICK! My heart sunk in my chest. I was bear poop.

    I'd short-stroked the bolt. The bear never slowed down, it just went by me at full speed. I could have touched it going past. I went from being bear poop to still being alive in less than a second. All was good! I checked my rifle to see why it had let me down, quickly realized that I hadn't worked the bolt enough, chambered a round, and got out of there. The bear was unharmed, I was unharmed, and no harm no foul.

    I never did stop to see what the bear was guarding in the brush. Maybe a moose carcass? At that point, I didn't care.

    I now hunt with a chambered round.

  20. #20
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    Default A bear is too fast !!!

    In the fall of 1991, I was just approaching the tree line through multiple, intersecting alder thickets looking for a way to break through to open ground. My pack was banging into alders and I was bent over trying to clear them. My attention was on my footing because the alders were so thick I couldnít see far ahead. I came to the head of a gully where I could see about 40 yards ahead and across as the trail followed the contour around the gully head. I looked as far ahead as I could see, then back at the ground to ensure my footing. I realized something was wrong, looked up again and a grizzly was running at me along the trail. He had covered half the 40 yards before I realized he was coming. I had time to straighten up, yell and fall back against the hillside -- he was on me that fast. He stopped at five feet, stood there for a few moments. His mouth was open, but I didnít hear anything. I was flat on the ground, looking up at him. He suddenly but slowly dropped down off the trail then circled completely around me at about 20 feet distance. The only sounds he made while slipping through the alders were like muttering and jaw pops. He crossed the trail he had approached and went to the place he had stepped off the trail. I then hit him with bear spray at about 15 feet, which ended the situation for me. He was then the noisiest bear I have ever encountered. After dropping to his chest, clawing at his head and face, he left the area downhill, running into everything he could hit. I heard him running into things for quite while after he left.

    I have gone over the scenario time and again and I have decided that a bear at full run wonít give me time to fire a reasonably aimed shot from a pistol pulled from a holster or a rifle carried on a sling over my shoulder. Since I hunt with a bow quite often, I carry a .454 Casull pistol in a chest holster in the hope that I will be able to use it in a bear encounter. When there are indicators of imminent bear activity I pull my pistol (when I donít have a rifle) or I get my rifle in ready position with round in chamber. Iím convinced that a badly hit bear would have taken me. Falling to the ground in expectation of being hit and my yell is probably what kept the bear from making contact. The bear spray ended the situation.

    For a number of years I carried bear spray with the idea I would carry it in a holster with the nozzle forward so I could hit the trigger and spray in a forward direction very quickly. The idea was that the bear then couldnít see or smell and would probably leave of its own accord. Barring that I could place a well aimed shot to kill it. I have had other bear encounters since then but none have been as dramatic and I have stopped carrying bear spray due to cost and infrequent use. I used bear spray one other time and have had a surprise bear encounter, sights on bear at close range, four other times -- but I havenít had to pull the trigger. If I were a hiker instead of a hunter, I would carry bear spray to disorient the bear and a pistol to use if needed.

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