Saturday, June 5, 2010

Don't Take a Bear to a Gun Fight


This week HOTR Pure Lead Balls Award goes to the man who shot and killed a charging Grizzly with a .45 handgun in an Alaskan national park when it attacked his wife. He is being investigated however, for HAVING a gun in a park is legal, discharging it is not. The authorities saying "we have to make sure there was a valid reason for the shooting". If 800 pounds of angry teeth rushing at your loved one isn't valid, I don't know what is. ("Honest Mr. Ranger, I thought he was some hairy guy from Acorn ".)

You are never alone in the wilderness, in spite of a solitary step. Many of us have seen , while hunting, a large shadow, merging along the edge of vision, You draw up the gun, and shout LOUDLY just in case, and the shadows blends and dissapears. Wolf, bobcat? Who knows.

Up ahead on the trail another hiker, one with no gear, one that slows to ask you something, You have your hand at the ready and stare him boldly in the eye, moving quickly away, taking care you're not followed. Not all predators in the parks are four legged.

Further on up ahead, the sun pure and bright. There in the grass, the tiny twitching of legs, a small rabbit, teeth marks on its neck, a killing bite of surgical precision that you interrupted.
The wilderness has long drawn those who believe the unsullied vastness of the wild will fill in those gaps in their lives, where the cold slips in. But the wilderness is not a place for an armchair adventurer. It has but disregard for dreams and longings. If you go, you need to go prepared. For there are many pockets of the wild where risks still dwells, and alone, unarmed, you may have to fight for your life. The wild is not your favorite childhood stuffed animal, or a picture postcard. It's a consummate and oft mute solidity, breaking its silence just long enough to laugh at the vanity of your labors, at the aspiration of your life. The wild is vast space that does not move, yet creeps in the night, watching for that one mistake, when it can raise itself from slumber and strike. A place of beauty? Yes, but is a place where you need to travel with both your heart and your eyes wide open.

My first trip to Alaska was in the mid 80's, taking a break from college and working, I spent my first real "vacation" up there, renting a little plane and visiting a friend.

My family being from Montana, I felt pretty prepared for the trip, but I forgot about the bears. Where I visited was a small village, accessible only by air. When I arrived, I asked where a good place was to go for a walk, to stretch my legs . I was told, "don't go on any side streets unless you are armed". "Oh", I said, "Sort of like Detroit !"
Bears are as much a part of the wild, as wild is part of the bear. The ancient legends of a giant beast that would sweep down on a village and carry off a person, are gone, maulings, though quite media worthy, are rare. The bear serves no function to obvious eye, but occupies a big corner of my soul, with strength and blatant humility, reminding me as I step into his world, of my place in the food chain.

I would respect the bear, not purposely hunt him, but I am prepared to defend myself should I encroach on what he considers his domain and garner his fury for it.

I had suitable firearms for the trip, but some told me to leave the sidearm behind and carry bear spray instead. That might work on the black bear, but I think most Browns would consider that stuff foreplay. Despite their sometimes cute and cuddly appearance, bears are tough, they're mean, and even the not so big ones can kill you.

The skull? It's like armor plate. Another issue with a head shot is is the extremely narrow brain pan when viewed from the front.
Anything past the inner edge of the eyes is outside the brain pan. Knowing the skull is important. You may only have a few seconds and one shot. There will be nothing more than a roar of darkness that banishes the sun; your insides will stick. Your eyes will be blind and your mouth will be open and a clap of wind will hit you in the face as death rushes at you with a speed you never would have believed.


It's a bad dream, one of those in which you think if you can just touch something in that nightmare vision, something unalterable, solid and real, you can wake yourself up. You hand is already on your firearm. Please let me wake up. The anatomy of the skull can help you understand where to shoot at it better. Side shots to the head should be between the eye and base of the ear, depending of course on exact angle. You won't have a second chance on shot placement.

On the plus side, a bear will normally avoid contact with we humans.
But don't invite him to dinner by leaving food out, don't cook where you sleep, and make a lot of noise as you move around and he'll likely do his part to steer clear of you. What you can count on is (1) They will be bigger up close than you thought. They can be meaner than any of your ex's, except for the cubs, but if you run into those you have an even bigger problem. (2) A bear is more intelligent than you think and can be completely unpredictable, acting out in unexpected waysl without warning. They are masters at the not so subtle art of intimidation by tooth and claw, yet sometimes they'll run at the sight of you. Experienced outdoors people have seen both, and you must prepare for both.
Bears may also behave differently by species and subspecies. Just as there are those that swear brunettes and redheads are two different animals, black and brown bear (by species, the grizzly being a subspecies of the brown), may vary in behavior when confronted. When the smaller black bear charges at you, he comes to kill. Rolling into a ball and pretending to play possum will just make you a more portable snack. You must fight. A brown bear USUALLY only wants to stop the threat you represent. Playing dead may work with him. But I wouldn't bet my life on it.I know there are people that will disagree with the notion of bear as killing beast, offering guided tours of fuzzy grizzly bears up close. But bears aren't just like us, furry creatures with human attributes living in quiet society; anthropomorphizing them can only get you killed in my opinion. I wish those people good fortune, but I'll carry mine as the leaded variety.

There are many differing opinions on what makes a good bear load. The actual caliber selection is only one thought. Most bears, especially Grizzly, have an amazing knack of absorbing large amounts of lead with no apparent loss of power or mobility. Think that .22 round in your plinking gun is going to work on a mugger on PCP? It's the same concept with bear defense ammo. There have been cases in which a mortally wounded bear killed its victim after numerous hits in a vital area with a "stopping" caliber rifle. A bear, even hit in the "vitals" may not know it's dead until you've been sufficient disassembled. Encounter a pissed off Grizz and the PCP addled mugger will seem like child's play.

The sound alone of a full power magnum touched off may send him running away as well, but if he's charging, the only "stopping" shot for big bear is a brain or spine shot. I've seen how far my deer went after a perfect heart shot. I don't want to give the bear the same closure of space. A brain shot will do it. Snipers call the shot the “apricot shot”, and when hit, the target will drop. The problem is that the apricot is moving up and down and left and right, and did I mention the apricot is also, really small and coming at you at 30 mph?

The .357 caliber and higher definitely has enough penetration to get past the armor plate that a bear uses for a cranium without bounding off like pistol ball rounds, soft points, or hollow points which can catch a bone and dig in. Get good ammo. The rest boils down to marksmanship, luck and a couple gallons of adrenaline. A shoulder shot with an adequate round/bullet can turn or stop them, at least long enough to get a killing shot in. Traditional "hunting" shots are not generally stoppers, particularly with bears that are aware of your presence.

Think you can outrun him? Can you run 30 mph? Think you can shoot him in the eye because you can do 1/2 groupings at the range while the birds chirp and all is well in your world? Think again.
For a main carry, opinion is divided between those favoring the use of a high-powered rifle and those advocating 12 gauge slugs (and I assume those folks would want a pump action with a reasonably short barrel with foster style slugs). A 12 gauge Express Magnum loaded with slugs would be something I might carry. Bears are dangerous, but they are not as bulletproof as legend has, if you have the right load, a decent shot and always, a cool head. The Brenneke slugs seem to penetrate better than the Foster type. Fosters are basically a deer slug, and most are designed to expand, which is counterproductive on bears.

If I've got the .45 Colt Ruger I might use 21.5 grs H-110/325 gr Keith or LBT bullet recipe when I go up in the mountains. That is a gun my friend Malamute Bill uses, one that is a comfort in the high, wild and silent places. In the thick stuff, an 1886 carbine sometimes goes along for the walk.

All a 9mm/7.62*39/.357/.45ACP/etc. may do for you is just annoy it. (Though 9mm has rather good penetration in fmj loads, but not much shock.) You need something that will stop, and quickly. Bears have been killed with a wide variety of weaponry and ammo by skilled shooters. The Alaskan guide Phil Shoemaker used a Smith .357 for a while, and reported it killed bears fine with heavy solid bullet loads in head shots, though he passed it on to his daughter, a guide, and went back to a .44. Another Alaskan guide used, among other heavy caliber lever guns, a Browning 45-70 1886 carbine with heavy loads, and reported that it killed bears with head shots when necessary. A few locals tried taking down a big brown with .223. Not a good idea from what I heard of the outcome.

As for those little baby guns that are marketed as pocket bear medicine? Small bore handguns? God better be on your side that day. There is a reason many of those don't have front sights on them. That makes it less painful when the bear takes it and stuffs it up your behind.

Semi auto? I'd just as soon take the reliable old Savage in
30.-06 than something new and semi auto that might jam. Forget the scope this time for a self defense situation, unless you have just the right one and are expert in instant sight picture. Placement is everything in a bear, and open sights are much faster and at close range you are going to need it. Use a scope up close and all you might see is blurry hair before your world goes red.

Backup. You'll want some backup.

Many years ago, the African hunters established that you should carry a double rifle when dealing with serious life threatening wildlife. Their reasoning is simple and basic. If your main firearm fails to function properly, there is NO time for a failure drill. You need an immediate second weapon to fight for your life. On a trip to Africa, (I read too many Robert Ruark novels NOT to go to Africa), I spoke with a field guide who considered the double rifle as that chance. If a firing pin broke on one side, he'd have another with a double rifle or shotgun. Anything else, pump, automatic and you're left with a 10 lb. club, was his opinion. Although I had a double action shotgun on hand (if everything else has failed and Mr. Grizzly is trying to french kiss you, stick it in his mouth and give it both barrels) the majority of the time I kept a large revolver as a back up. Frankly, an 8-9 lb. long gun is not a terribly convenient thing to tote around under any circumstance, and it could be a nuisance enough in others that you set it down. Settled in and around a campsite, fishing or just docking that float plane your long gun might be laid down "somewhere handy" which is NOT going to be handy enough when Mr. Bear decided he wants to eat your salmon, your airplane, or you. There are other times outdoors, it's not handy either.

So, a sidearm is called for. In my case, it was the Ruger Blackhawk. But what about ammo? You might wish to avoid ammo designed specifically for personal defense, which feature fast-expanding, often lightweight, hollow point bullets. On a bear charging straight at you, there is no such thing as “enough” penetration with a handgun cartridge. You want heavy, hard bullets driven at the highest velocity attainable.

Next time I think I'll carry a .44 Magnum or a .45 Colt (in Ruger persuasion for hot loads) both stoked with heavy (240-300 gr) hard-cast lead Keith-style bullets. Another option, the LBT series of bullets, such as the 325gr LBT WFN over 21.5gr of H110 for the .45 Colt bruiser that might be waiting in the "safety of the jeep with Marlin". Whatever you carry, you're looking for hard cast, heavy for caliber bullets. Handgun bullets thus constructed generally have better penetration than most high power rifle bullets, as the expansion tends to slow penetration to a great degree. High velocity in heavy pistol bullets doesn't help much after a certain point apparently.The gains tend to fade somewhat after the 1200 fps threshold, and some higher velocity loads actually penetrate less. This is more than tribal knowledge of some heavy caliber sixgun users, but has been born out in tests such as those done by John Linebaugh at his Seminars in Cody. Small pieces of information to tuck away, as one day it may come in handy.
But on those first trips, I was glad to have my backup bear gun. With the gun, came freedom of movement. With it I was able to walk with a more sure step, though always alert, head up and paying attention, not listening to music or talking on my phone. With it I went to places and met more people, like a woman, an older widow, who lived in a large and beautiful, but isolated cabin style home on a lake 50 miles from the nearest settlement. A city woman, she'd fallen in love with a local, married him as a young girl and stayed, even after his death. I landed there, dropping off some supplies for her as a favor. In return, she offered me a meal and coffee and I ended up staying for two days, sharing stories of life in the wild, and learning just how deep love will lead you into the wilderness of your heart.Could we live without the bear? Some say we can live without love, yet I know, if we did, something within our soul would wander aimlessly, always seeking something untamed. The lure of the wild is its own anchor, keeping us tethered to that which is real.

On my dresser is a small carving of a bear, in a box next to it, a sprig of pine from a forest far away. I pull it out, that single, small piece fills the room, the dusk, the very day, with an odor I can smell, above my own perfume, above my own fear. The smell of the wilderness, that of the forest and the heart, calling me back.

Journeys taken, with eyes and heart wide open, and weapon always near.

25 comments:

frogman43 said...

There's more than a grain, or two, of truth in your comments there Miss Brigid. Like you, I prefer wide flat nose (WFN) hardcast hunting bullets for my stopping loads.

While dumping as much energy as one can into a two legged varmint is good practice, penetration is the key to breaking down four legged critters that plan to have you for lunch.

In all honesty, 300 grain hardcast WFN bullets traveling at 1,200 FPS will put two holes (one in, one out) through most everything I want to shoot, and anything more than that and recoil becomes a big factor for me. Large framed single actions with Bisley style grips will help even more with taming large, powerful loads!

More importantly Miss Brigid, is your attitude towards being responsible for your own safety, as well as your situational awareness. Keeping an eye out for trouble before it finds you first is the best prevention.

As the old adage goes "Don't go poking the bear if all you have is a stick"....carry a big handgun instead! LOL

Enjoy your weekend!

Jim said...

Brigid,
Having lived in Alaska and worked a few maulings, I find your article very informative.

You touched on something that most folks can't comprehend when dealing with a bear, their speed.

Many maulings in Alaska are to hunters. Hunters that are carrying their rifles at the ready. Round chambered. A snick of a safety and the squeeze of a trigger is all that stands between them and survival. Those rifles are usually found in the same condition. Safety on, round in the chamber.

Bears are extremely fast. It can not be understated. They can run down a healthy elk one day, the next they can pounce on a ground squirrel.

One thing that is overlooked in the "which caliber for bear" debate is your buddy. Bear attacks are usually on single individuals. Bring a buddy when you go in the woods. That includes a dog.

If I were to choose the gun for bear, it would be a 45/70 lever gun. Like the guide gun. But that is my choice.

Ed Rasimus said...

Having a dependable .45 ACP is better than not having a gun, but as you clearly explain, it isn't a weapon of choice in brown bear country. Clearly the individual in the incident had the fortitude to shoot and keep shooting until effective.

I like the 45-70 guide gun that Jim recommends. It is short, relatively light, can be loaded up for the purpose, etc. I'm ambivalent about shotguns although a good slug loading might suffice.

In a handgun, there are calibers that can do the job, but personally I don't enjoy shooting the uber-thumpers and that would leave me inadequately trained with the gadget.

Like walking the back streets of Chicago, Detroit or DC, a key element is awareness of your environment.

Good stuff here, as always.

Mark Horning said...

Thanks for reminding me, I really need to get to the reloading bench and load up those 300 grain hardcast for the Dan Wesson .44 Magnum.

Not that I'm planning on getting up to bear country anytime soon, but always be prepared.

MOBro said...

BEARY good advice, Lady B, beary good!!

og said...

hey, firing pins don't break!!I don't know what you're worried about!


Grat post, as always.

Brigid said...

Og, I'm baking rosemary infused bread and have the makings for venison pasta sauce with bacon. You guys better be hungry tomorrow.

Oh, and there's chocolate cake with dark chocolate gateau icing.

Barkley and G dog are giving me the dog-fu look trying to get some of the stuff that smells good.

Retired Spook said...

Frogman43 said:
"In all honesty, 300 grain hardcast WFN bullets traveling at 1,200 FPS will put two holes (one in, one out) through most everything I want to shoot, and anything more than that and recoil becomes a big factor for me. Large framed single actions with Bisley style grips will help even more with taming large, powerful loads!"

I agree 100%! We don't have big bears here, but we do have irritable feral hogs, some of which will weigh 500+ lbs. The 300 grain, .45 caliber WFN bullet, at 1200-1300 fps carries a pretty good dose of "Leave me the hell alone!"

I've driven those bullets lengthwise through a 400 lb. boar.

But the most important this, as you mentioned, is staying aware, and keeping your wits about you.

Thanks, Ms. B

D.W. Drang said...

I was rather flabbergasted when I learned that the guy took down an Alaskan bear with a .45 ACP. Less so when I learned he had to empty it. I don't have a problem with an investigation to make sure that the action was justified--I would prefer to believe that no one would take legal carry in parks as an excuse to get in a little off-season hunting, but the possibility exists, alas.

And no fair broadcasting the menu where those of us in other time zones can be taunted by it!

Anonymous said...

And, I had warmed up spaghetti, fruit, and .....something else. Damn..you made me forget! LOL

SWModel66

Ag said...

Sometimes you get the bear.....

Sometimes the bear....

Actually the bear only gets you once.

*********

I once heard a joke about 2 guys trying to run from a bear.

The first guy says to the other, "I don't think we can outrun this bear"

The second guy replies, " I'm not trying to outrun the bear, I'm just trying to outrun you!"

frogman43 said...

DW Drang said
"I was rather flabbergasted when I learned that the guy took down an Alaskan bear with a .45 ACP. Less so when I learned he had to empty it"

Was it ascertained that it was a .45 acp? Just asking as the report I read mentioned a ".45 caliber weapon" is all. I know a few folks in bear country like to carry an LAR Grizzly mag semi auto in .45 Win Mag, a vastly superior cartridge to the .45 acp.....

Regardless.....any shoot you can walk away from is a good thing...kind of like hickory smoked bacon with strong coffee in the morning! LOL

Keith

Crawler said...

Several years ago, I went to Denali National Park and I was greeted at the entrance with the sign “No Firearms Allowed”. Okay, so I left mine locked in the trunk of the rental car.

Approaching the main visitor center, all the other signs I encountered were “Warning! Bear This”, Warning! Bear That” etc…until I came across a sign of a missing hiker. I figured he either succumbed to a bear attack, a hungry wolf pack, a fatal accident or a two-legged predator.

After reading the missing hiker sign, my thoughts took me back to the park entrance sign and all I could think of was what a shame it was that the NPS removed the right to self protection for law-abiding Americans visiting their own park.

It was great to see the new law enacted last February allowing law-abiding Americans to lawfully bring handguns in our national parks for self protection. I’m sure the hiker’s wife was grateful of the new law too.

I would also like to believe that the .45ACP toting hiker was more concerned about the two-legged variety predator than the four-legged kind; I know I am. But something tells me he will be adding or bringing something with a little more “umphhh” on his next hiking excursion in Denali; or wherever he’s a notch or two below the top of the food chain.

Hopefully, he or wife will find and read this blog…it’d definitely do both of ‘em good.

Terrapod said...

Dear Brigid: Thank you for this article. I have learned more on protective rounds and weapons in the wild from it than any other source to date. I carry a 1917 springfield in 30-06 when in the UP or norther MN, but had never considered carrying a heavy load handgun, until now.

The Old Professor said...

As a kid living in rural East Texas, me and two friends were attacked by a black bear. Georgie and I survived, Billy didn't.

Stretch said...

My in-laws live in the diagonally opposite corner of the US, the Fla. panhandle. Walks in the local wilderness areas may result in encounters with; black bear, feral hogs, snakes, gators and meth heads.
Have carried my 1911 in the past but now may up-gun to my Ruger .45LC.
Thanks for the ammo tips.

NetRanger said...

Excellent article. I like it when you get technical. Beautiful narrative.

I've adopted the 44Magnum as my favorite, all around cartridge. For squirrels with 2grs of Bullseye and a round ball. Very accurate. Pretty much need to hit them in the head. Its kind of like beating them with a small, fast, lead club.

I like 9gr of Unique with a 240gr Keith bullet for deer, head shots only. Feedsacks like you flipped a switch. 1" groups at 50yds with a rifle (depending on the rifle, of course).

Then, there's 19gr of 2400 with a Hornady 220gr soft point for moles. Yes, moles. In damp ground it gives you about a 30" shock circle that turns their insides to, well, inoperative mole insides.

Though I've never been in bear country I'd be more comfortable with the Blackhawk in 44Mag. After you've had that in your hands with full power loads, all other pistols seem like an upgraded slingshot.

Your first full power round (which I don't recommend until you've shot something with some kick) will make your palm sting and your smile wide. When the bullet impacts something like a milk jug full of water you'll realize that the term Hand Cannon is not just a fantasy. Having a full 3x the ft/lbs of a 45ACP, 3.5x to 4x that of a 9mm and 50% more than a 40S&W it is just about all your hand wants in a lite gun.

My standard Blackhawk weighs a pound less than a Super Blackhawk. If you're having any wrist problems, shooting full power loads should be avoided. Even lite or medium loads give off enough shock wave to be annoying.

I like the round because of its availability and reloadability and the range of loads you can put together. Also, here are many levers and break action rifles loaded for it. Even a few autoloaders! Love that Ruger Carbine!

If nothing else, the 44 Magnum is fun. Shooting into the pond mud at 100ft is likely to get you muddy. Shredding milk jugs with full power loads gives everyone grass stains on their chins. ...and, if you're lucky, the local sheriff will drive by with a wave not telling you that someone just called 911 and said someone was making bombs. (You're unlucky if he stops. Those guys just think ammo grows on trees! Next time I'm going to make sure I get a few rounds through his Glock. After all, he needs to test that thing regularly. Might as well be at my range.)

reflectoscope said...

It occurred to I the one time that if I can't it an index card coming bobbing at I at 30 miles an hour, that I have no business trying to hit a bear.

We don't get bears in-close around here, but a half-hour in any direction and you've got a pretty good chance.

Jim

NetRanger said...

Duh! Forgot my pictures. Enjoy.

http://picasaweb.google.com/NtRngr/GunsReloading#

Mike W. said...

You mean I can't get by with just a basket of PB&J sandwiches?

Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager, I really REALLY wanted to become a big game hunting guide in Alaska. Had the whole thing in my head: Log cabin along a river, fish wheel along side a dock, with a lame Indian cook named Curly - yep, that was going to be me. Even bought the firearms I read I needed - .338 Ruger 77 w/ Leupold 2.5-8x scope, Remington 600 .350 Remington Magnum, receiver sighted, and of course, Remington 870 12 gauge pump. Ruger .41 Magnum Blackhawk in Bianchi Cyclone crossdraw holster.

I never went, sometimes to my regret, but I still dream of that cabin. Sure is a long way from south Texas . . .

Great post ma'am.

Phil wong said...

I wanted to contribute this bit of dialogue from one of my favorite films, "The Wind and the Lion," as being somewhat apropos:

1st Reporter: Is, uh, that the bear?
Theodore Roosevelt: Yes, this is the bear that attacked the horse camp at dawn. He knew that men would be asleep, or at their worst, at dawn. You know, he injured one of the Indians quite severely - killed several of the horses, too.
2nd Reporter: Did you yourself participate in stopping the bear, Mr. President?
Theodore Roosevelt: Yes, I regret to say.
3rd Reporter: Why do you regret, Mr. President?
Theodore Roosevelt: Because he's a fine creature. This is his valley. This valley belonged to the bear, we're the intruders here. We're accustomed to wild animals taking flight at the sight of men with guns. The American grizzly fears nothing, not man, not guns, not death.
1st Reporter: Do you intend to have this bear as a rug in the White House, Mr. President?
Theodore Roosevelt: Rug? No. No, I intend to have him stuffed and placed on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute. The American grizzly bear is a symbol of the American character: strength, intelligence, ferocity. Maybe a little blind and reckless at times... but courageous beyond all doubt. And one other trait that goes with all previous.
2nd Reporter: And that, Mr. President?
Theodore Roosevelt: Loneliness. The American grizzly lives out his life alone. Indomitable, unconquered - but always alone. He has no real allies, only enemies, but none of them as great as he.
2nd Reporter: And you feel this might be an American trait?
Theodore Roosevelt: Certainly. The world will never love us. They respect us - they might even grow to fear us. But they will never love us, for we have too much audacity! And, we're a bit blind and reckless at times too.
2nd Reporter: Are you perhaps referring to the situation in Morocco and the Panama Canal.
Theodore Roosevelt: If you say so... The American grizzly embodies the spirit of America. He should be our symbol! Not that ridiculous eagle - he's nothing more than a dandified vulture.(Laughter)Dandified.

Conservative Scalawag said...

As daddy use to say when he was alive. Once you go into the woods, you are part of the food chain. Prepare accordingly.

While we, us folks in North Georgia, only have smaller black and brown bear. They still top out at 400lb, some bigger. The last time I checked I only weigh half of that,and not nearly as strong or fast. Thus, I carry a .357 with 158 Georgia Arms DeerStopper. Of course in the hopes it is a last resort. For I don't want to hurt a bear if I don't have to.

Ed Foster said...

A marvellous post Ma'am, fully worthy of comparison with so much of your work. And followed by excellent commentary by knowledgeable and interesting people.

When I was in college, I worked security at the Hartford National Bank, for a crusty old retired Special Forces Major named Rivers. When he lived in Alaska, he went bear hunting with his wife (where do you find women who want to hunt with their man nowadays? Lucky bugger).

A really great photo of him sitting there with the bear 5 or 6 feet away, right where it had stopped and dropped. His rifle rounds hadn't finished the job, his wife did, with a 1911, and her foot was on the bear's scary big head.

Yes, I'd rather have my big revolver with me too, but in the right hands, it did the job.

I remember reading years ago in Field and Stream or Outdoor Life about a grizzly taken by an Indian woman out gathering firewood. It reared up right in front of her, and she whipped out her 9 shot H&R .22 revolver, which she used to blast his scrotum into rags with several highspeed hollowpoints.

The bear did what any male animal would do, which was to fall down screaming. The aforementioned cool, calm, Indian lady then proceeded to shoot him in the eye repeatedly, until one finally bounced into his brain. Women are scary.

Phil Wong: You're right. One of my favorite movies of all time, and every bit of TR's dialogue in the flick is taken from actual speeches or letters.

Then there's the tongue-in-cheek story about the warning sign in Wyoming, mentioning there were both brown and black bears in the area. It mentioned that you should carry pepper spray and wear bells attached to your clothing to let the bears know you were in the area.

It further mentioned that you could tell what kind of bear was near you by the appearance of their scat. Black bear scat was dark, short, and almost round.

Grizzly scat was longer, lighter in color, had little bells in it, and smelled faintly of pepper.

Shannon said...

This post was completely serendipitous for me - you never fail to amaze me.