Tangled with a Brown Bear on Montague



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  • Tangled with a Brown Bear on Montague

    I made it out to Montague last week for my first ever deer hunt in the sound. My hunting partner was my wife. I got some advice on this board before we went. The advice was good, the bucks were way....high.

    We ended up having an experience with one of Montague's famous brown bears on the second day. I have now seen bear spray be totally ineffective, on an enraged charging bear. Luckily it was the bear and not us that lost out on this one. I took the time to put the whole story of the hunt and bear charge on my website with some photos, if you're interested. If you dig further you can find my wife's first hunt ever, from this spring, for black bear. There's even video, if you have a high speed connection. Nothing professional, I was filiming and coaching at the same time. It's at www.alaskaadventurejournal.com/montague.htm


  • #2

    Great story, John.
    You guys handled your deal with class. Kudos to your wife too, the mental image of her standing there with that can of spray shooting it in the charging bear's mug is lasting...many would still be in therapy!
    Thankfully you connected with the rifle the way you did.
    Proud to be an American!


    • #3
      Great story. Sorry you had to kill the sow and leave the cubs. Maybe they'll survive. I've used bear spray on black bears but never brown, now I know not to put oo much faith in it. Hope you get a chance to deer hunt again.


      • #4
        The wife said that after a month or so and a few good beer drinking sessions the memories will have faded enough that she'll go back. She just wasn't up for it on that trip.

        You talk about a bonding experience. Stand side by side with your wife, both doing everything within your capabilities to keep from getting run over and/or mauled.

        I would look over at her as we were motoring back the next day, she sat quietly reliving the charge over and over.

        Her Dad was pissed when he found out about the bear. Can't understand why we would go somewhere where you might find a Brown Bear. He doesn't seem to understand that we have them in our neighborhood too. One nabbed a jogger within the last year and mauled him pretty bad.



        • #5


          Glad to hear you and the wife made it okay. I think it is awesome that you get to share that time with your wife. It will make your bond even stronger.


          • #6
            awesome story

            great read... glad you guys are okay...

            PM sent.. Let me know if you get it...


            • #7
              Great Story, thanks for sharing it with us
              Living the Alaskan Dream
              Gary Keller
              Anchorage, AK


              • #8
                Winmag, shot you an e-mail back.

                Has anyone had a chance to look at our black bear hunting footage from this spring on our website? I'm interested in knowing if it is working on other computers. This was my first attempt at posting streaming video. If it's entertaining enough I have the kill footage from my cousin's bear on the same hunt that I can add. Remember as you watch this, we are still newer to hunting yet, so we still get pretty excited.
                On our homepage it's under 2006:
                May- Black Bear Hunting in Prince William Sound
                Last edited by John S; 10-05-2006, 21:06. Reason: spelling


                • #9
                  I thoroughly enjoyed your site, the stories, and the video. Would love to see the other footage. I never get sick of bears or PWS for that matter. Please don’t apologize for getting excited. Your pride in your wife showed through more than anything—it was nice.



                  • #10
                    Your experience is the classic reason a person should carry enough gun while deer hunting up here. I used to carry my '06 on Kodiak for years. Last trip down we had one buck carried away by a huge (easily 10 foot plus from his tracks) brownie and one day we were being followed by the same bear I suspect.
                    First thing I did upon returning was to build up a weatherproof 338 WM just for the islands.


                    • #11
                      Great story with great results, better you than the bear every time. Would anyone care to iniate a discussion about giving the state bear hides in self defense incidents? I will do it but it wont be in resaleable condition. Needless to say I take exception to the policy.


                      • #12
                        Quite a story! And nice website! That is the exact story that Coral is SO scared about me telling some day. I will tell you that she has SUPPORTED me in anything and everything I ever wanted to do...but she is NOT at all excited about me going for grizz. And to be honest, I have this gut feeling that the danger is present whether I am hunting grizz or blacktail. I know she hasn't seen that side of it yet, but we will deal with that when the time comes.

                        Any thoughts?


                        • #13

                          My best advice is preparation for you and your hunting partner (wife) or who ever it is. I'm definitely no expert, but we have prepared for this encounter for years. If you spend much time outdoors in AK, bears can't be completey avoided. Most of the trips on my website seem to have a bear involved or bear avoidance while camping. We had a grizzly try to walk right into the middle of our camp in the Brooks Range in August. We own TWO portable electric fence systems these days to keep bears out of our tents and meat cache. Not only do we carry the bear spray, we actually take the time to remove it from it's holster, remove the saftey and pretend we are spraying a bear. 2-3 times a year I make a fool out of myself on the the shooting range in my yard. I raise my firearm above my head moving my arms around yelling "no bear", "no bear", then I bring it down and without hesitating for a lengthy aim, blow away the target, paper plate, piece of fruit or whatever is my charging bear that day. Before black bear season, I rapidly emptied my .44 magnum into a paper plate over and over from 30 ft. until every bullet was in the plate. I know who will be lead on our hunts if a wounded bear has to be tracked. I think your actions need to be automatic when and if the day comes. We were lucky, we had time to react. My wife had bear spray and she went for it in autopilot without ever looking at it, it was harnessed to her chest. I had BOTH bear spray and a rifle and without thinking it thru, the rifle became my choice and I'm glad it was. Shortly after we were charged and we were standing in front of a dead bear I told my wife, "at least we're not going to make one of Larry Kaniut's books with this one". That's my goal, to NEVER be a story in one of his books.

                          There was a time when my wife refused to tent camp anywhere in AK, I think by gearing up and through preparation she softened up on the issue when she knew it could be handled. She now shoots every gun we own and knows what to do and how to act when a bear is seen or sees us.

                          A little bit of luck and lots of preparation, there's my suggestion.
                          Last edited by John S; 10-07-2006, 00:07. Reason: content


                          • #14
                            Bear Beware...

                            Thanks John - I appreciate you taking time out to enlighten us a little bit. I have taken a "defense" class in which I learned the basics of "how to train" for handling an encounter. The practice, yelling and shooting techniques you discussed were all components, as well as others (mainly sidearm practices). Now this class took place in Michigan and I think I took more out of it than the others just because I AM AWARE OF THE REALITY of this "could happen" experience. You may well know from my other posts that I am putting together the BEST gear list I can come up with. On this list is a sidearm (I know the opinions vary on this topic and agree that a high-powered rifle or shotgun may stop a bear better than a pistol, but my family is priority on my list and their piece of mind means more to me than 5 extra pounds on my belt). Once I get back to Michigan (I am out of state working right now and can't legally purchase one since I am not a resident here), I (AND CORAL) will be practicing until it becomes habit. I already make a fool out of myself at the range with my rifle leveled from the hip blasting cheap ammo at the target on a whim.

                            Are there any other techniques I could be practicing now? Sorry if this topic been discussed here before, point me in the right direction if it has.



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