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The Meat Eater provides some first hand input here.


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Excellent informational interview.

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The Rinella interview and the reaction of those with him when the bear rushed in is the embodiment of the Mike Tyson statement: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." I had such a moment woodcock hunting in wild hog territory. Abby had bayed a hog in the rivercane and fortunately she came when I whistled. I was in thick cane and laid my shotgun beside me while I went to one knee to leash Abby to get the hell out of Dodge. While leashing her, the sow charged. She must have been protecting her piglets. I saw her under 10 yards breaking cane as she ran towards me. I stood up, without the gun, and ran at her hollering with my arms up in the air waving. The thought of shooting her never entered my mind in the split second I reacted. Luckily, it was a bluff charge and she spun on her heels and ran away. If I did that with a charging brown bear the bear's first thought would be "I don't recall ordering this food delivery. How nice." Gil

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This is so correct and is what I was talking about....and the experience described is similar to combat. That's why the saying, "you don't rise to the occasion, but rather sink to the level of your training," is true.

But frankly even realistic training (and the US army a number of years ago was able to simulate live combat in training which clearly saves lives), doesn't replace real-time experience. And even with experience traumatic surprise can still cause men to "opt out" or just "forget."

Maybe I'll let son stick to his 870 and bear spray.


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Where a heavy revolver did save lives...but only one revolver, one (jammed) rifle, and a crossbow:

Eli Francovich, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.
Sun, May 23, 2021, 11:01 AM
May 23—Trevor Schneider peered through his scope, a 1,000-pound brown bear made small by 1,410 feet of distance.

For Schneider, of Bonners Ferry, it was a reasonable shot. He's killed animals from farther, after all. He slowed his breathing, each breath condensing in the chill of the Alaskan evening.

It was 8 p.m. on May 13 and Schneider and his sister Tana Grenda were on their fourth day hunting coastal black bears on the southern side of the Alaskan peninsula.

They'd been dropped off by Grenda's husband along the beach on May 8, set up camp and promptly spent the next two days waiting out bad weather. When the skies cleared, they glassed the steep hillsides above them, eventually spotting a large brown bear they decided to stalk.

They left camp at 6 a.m. on May 13 and spent the next 14 hours hiking uphill, picking their way through thickets of alders and devil's club. Over the course of the final 2 miles they gained 2,000 feet of elevation, climbing through cliff bands, eventually topping out onto an alpine snow field. By 8 p.m., they'd traveled about 8 miles, crossing numerous streams, each carrying 50-pound backpacks.

That's where they saw their bear, one of many that had just come out of hibernation. In southern Alaska, these coastal brown bears grow big eating salmon. Unlike in the Lower 48, they are common animals. Already, Schneider and Grenda had passed by several large animals.

"They are salmon bears," Schneider said. "It's not like what we're used to in areas like North Idaho and Washington. You see bears like you see deer down here."

They closed in on the bear they'd spotted from the beach 8 miles below.

"We were going after a big one," he said. "We weren't going to shoot a small one."

He found his spot, 470 yards away, totally exposed on an open expanse of snow.

He aimed. Steadied his breath. And shot.

Once, twice and a third time. The .338 ultra mag (a large magnum cartridge good for long-distance shooting) pierced the bear's lung, the second high left on the animal's shoulder and the third through the bear's neck.

He tried to fire again, but his gun had jammed. Oh well, he figured, he'd fired three good shots on the bear.

Schneider examined his weapon to figure out what happened. Meanwhile, the bear started to move toward him. Schneider couldn't figure out what happened with his gun, and the bear, despite the three bullets, had zeroed in on them and was rapidly approaching.

They started to panic.

Bears are fast. An average member of the species can run 30 mph when threatened. For comparison's sake, Usain Bolt — the fastest human recorded — ran 27.78 mph when he set a record in the 100-meter run in 2009.

Bears are even faster going downhill on snow. They use their bodies "like a sled," Schneider said.

"He's working his way toward us and we're starting to panic," Schneider said. "I said, 'OK we have to run.' Basically, we have to buy time here."

They dropped their gear and headed downhill, angling toward three boulders, the only cover around. They got behind the boulders. The gun was still jammed. Grenda didn't have her own rifle.

This particular bear hunt in Alaska has specific rules. First, you can only apply for it every four years. Second, if you aren't a resident of Alaska the only way you can get a tag is by either hiring a guide (that costs) or going with a next of kin relative who is an Alaskan resident.

Grenda lives in Alaska, so, per the hunting regulations, she was Schneider's guide.

But also according to the rules, she was not allowed to shoot the bear.

The two opted to save weight and bring only one rifle, one bow and one pistol.

They made it to the rocks on the ridge line, but the bear continued to move forward. When it was about 150 yards away, the animal got "a hit of adrenaline like it almost took drugs."

"At that point it really started moving," Schneider said.

They ducked behind one of the boulders and Schneider pulled out his revolver, which held five .454 Casull rounds. He had five more rounds on his hip. Schneider, trying to stay crouched behind the rock, waited until the bear got closer.

He fired, aiming for the animal's face, but crouched as he was, he missed. He had four bullets left.

He stood up. Took aim.

"OK, I have four more shots," he said. "I have to make it count here.

"It's coming to us mouth open, huffing at a dead sprint."

His second shot hit the animal in the chest. At 5 yards he shot again, hitting the bear in its front shoulder.

That shot turned the animal, and it angled away from Schneider and his sister. He shot once more, hitting it broadside.

Schneider and his sister moved again, this time heading uphill and to the side, figuring it would be harder for the bear to get them. Once they put some space between them and the animal, they turned around and looked down. The bear had tumbled off the ridge, starting a small avalanche.

It wasn't moving.

Seeing this, Schneider and Grenda screamed — a howl of survival.

"We both thought we were going to die," Schneider said. "What is that going to feel like? Am I going to feel the pain of getting ripped apart?"

The two made their way back to the bear. Schneider poked it at least "30 times with my pistol" to make sure it was dead. As the adrenaline faded, Schneider sat on the ground, sick to his stomach.

The bear was huge, a 28 1/4 -inch skull and 10-foot-4.

"It looked like a prehistoric monster," he said.

The duo spent the next several hours skinning the animal and packing its pelt. They hiked down into the low country and spent a cold night sleeping under a tarp.

Schneider's pack weighed 150 pounds, he estimated. Grenda's was about 100 pounds.

The next day, they hiked back to their base camp on the beach. They did not pack out any of the bear meat.

"Their meat is very nasty," he said. "You're just required to take the hide and the skull for research purposes and stuff."

The final miles to camp were grueling, with both of them taking breaks every 50 to 100 yards.

"You take your body to failure and then you do it again and again and again," he said.

But they made it.

In retrospect, Schneider said they both should have had pistols and a backup rifle.

As for the jammed rifle, it was a freak accident. A spent cartridge had fallen into the front action, blocking the bolt from going all the way down.

"Super unlucky," Schneider said.

Schneider acknowledged the deadly truth of the situation. He and his sister barely escaped with their lives despite all the benefits of modern technology.

"We're nothing compared to these things," he said. "If you were to throw us out there with nothing, we don't stand a chance. The only way we stand a chance is with the technology and the tools."

The pure size of the animal, combined with the fact that it took seven high-powered bullets to kill it, underscored the power of nature and humanity's dependence on tools.

Schneider has realized this in the past. An avid hunter, he and his family run Stuck N The Rut, a popular YouTube hunting show. He's spent more time than most in the backcountry and has no illusions about his toughness relative to nature.

And yet, the encounter with the brown bear in Alaska drove the point home in a way nothing else had.

"It was a humbling experience in general to just have had that happen and to realize, 'OK we're not the top of the food chain,' " he said.

"When it comes down to it, we are weak. It doesn't take much for us to be hurt or injured."

Last edited by Argo44; 05/23/21 05:23 PM.

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My only armed encounter, so far, was in my backyard, and it wasn't with a bear. Two armed robbers had held up a grocery store in a tiny town a few miles from me. They escaped in a car and were ultimately forced to ditch the car a few hundred yards from my home and hid in the woods across the highway from my house. As the law enforcement all closed in I realized my family and I were literally in the middle of it all. One robber gave up and surrendered when the bloodhounds were released into the woods. The other held out until dusk, then ran out of the woods across the highway towards my house, where my wife, kids and mother were locked in. I was outside with a shotgun loaded with buckshot watching the law enforcement desperately try to handle the "situation". The robber, armed with a pistol, tried unsuccessfully to get into my house, then ran around the opposite side towards the rear. I met him on the opposite corner as he was trying to climb my back fence. I demanded he surrender, or I'd shoot. A (dumb) deputy hollered to me that I wasn't to do that, that was their job, at which time the robber leapt off the fence and proceeded to run across a hayfield behind my house. In an attempt to keep him in sight and not allow him to escape I ran behind him, a few yards away, keeping him in sight. The law enforcement finally decided to do something and opened fire at him from my yard. After some 40-50 rounds were expended someone finally hit him in the leg and he went down. Had he turned his pistol towards me earlier I would have undoubtedly used force on him. There was no way I was going to let him escape, and no way I was going to let him shoot me either.

It ended for the best, I guess, as he spent several years in a penitentiary. A far cry from a bear attack, but an armed encounter nonetheless.

Last edited by Stanton Hillis; 05/23/21 10:38 PM.

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Originally Posted by Stanton Hillis
....back to the question, what would be the effectiveness of a load of buck to a bear's head, under charge? I'd think it would be a charge stopper, but would like to hear of specific examples.
Try searching the newspaper, Great Falls Tribune, and there are articles about bird hunter encounters with grizzlies in Montana, and killing bears at close range with bird shot. There's a short, under twenty seconds, youtube video, 'bear charges after mountain goats', at Glacier National Park from July of 2020. It gives some idea how quick one might have to be at getting a shotgun slinged over a shoulder, into action.

There are supposedly dozens of maulings every year in Montana and Wyoming. There are articles from just a month ago of an experienced outdoors guide being attacked while fishing near Yellowstone, and dying a couple of days later. I figure if I'm hunting, I'll have a gun in my hands, but for just being out there, I've settled on keeping a .44 with heavy bullets, handy. I'm not worried about it, but a few years back, a young grizzly made the news moving through a duck hunting spot I've been to a few times. A friend in the Flathead area of MT had a backyard chicken coop torn up with claw marks eleven feet off the ground, and there were a few sightings by neighbors. The wildlife folks put out a barrel trap to try to relocate that bear, but it was hit by a pickup a few days later. But anyway, no doubt, I'm glad you and yours had a good ending.

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Thanks, Craig, much appreciated.


Originally Posted by craigd
A friend in the Flathead area of MT had a backyard chicken coop torn up with claw marks eleven feet off the ground

That's impressive. As I sit here at my home computer desk I just looked up at the crown molding on my ten foot ceiling and tried to picture a bear that would stand high enough to claw one foot above that. Next time I am tempted to make a statement about being at the top of the food chain I'll likely remember that mental picture.


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Gene, I'd encourage your son to try something that is fun, but at the same time provides training with the shotgun that might be life saving. It's shooting at clay pigeons from the hip. Some ranges won't allow it, but a backyard trap and a buddy are all that's needed to safely do so. It's lots of fun and it puts eye-hand coordination fully to the test. With the speed of a bear, in charge mode, there could be the possibility of not being able to get the shotgun unslung and properly mounted in time. A hip shot could be lifesaving, though certainly not the most desirable if time allowed. Even practice hip-shooting at a standard stationary silhouette would be good to ingrain the right visual pictures and muscle memory.

Once, in Argentina on a high volume dove shoot I was having an especially good afternoon, as far as hits to misses. Because of that, I was having lots of fun. I was using my trusty Beretta 687 SP II Sporting model in 20 gauge. On a lark I said to my bird boy "Ver este", and proceeded to kill the first six doves (incomers) straight, from the hip. I then couldn't hit another one, and we both had a big laugh on me. Practice like that is fun, and useful. I'd liken it to pistol practice where one has to draw and point-shoot without the luxury of the "Weaver Stance", and aiming. I was taught to practice this by a friend who served numerous tours in the Middle East as some type of special forces operative, then worked as a contractor there up until last year, when he retired and came home. My first tendency with this method, and live fire, was to shoot way low, although with good windage. A little more practice gets the round hitting up in the vitals, but it was eye opening for me just how low those first practice rounds went. When my friend pointed out how quickly an attacker can cover 21 ft. I could see the need of that type practice. There just may not be enough time for a proper Weaver stance.

Best wishes to your son. My eldest is mountain climber and hiker in AZ. I remind him often about the importance of not doing this alone, because of lions.


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Stan, you are indeed a very lucky man. Not only did you survive a near death by drowning a year or so ago (freak accident-granted) but knowing the make-up of many deputies, that Barney Fife "dipity" could just as well shot you for "interferring" .. about 6 years ago here, Nov. deer season- a buck crossed the road at night right in front of my daughter's house and was hit by a passing truck, which kept going. My son-in-law called the Sheriff's 911- number- and waiting for the patrol car- the deer was lying on their front yard, still breathing, but not able to get up. The deputy told him that if my son-in;law had shot the deer to finish him off humanely, he would have to put his season tag on it to claim it, for the meat-but if the deputy finished him off, the meat would go to a public food bank- so my son-in-law put down his .30-30 and watched- the Deputy emptied his Glock into the deer's neck at close range, Jeff could see the grass clumps exploding around the deer, but as soon as the Deputy dumped his mag and reached for a fresh one, the deer got up and ran slowly away--RWTF


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