Shoot him in the face?


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Alan Fud
February 23, 2003, 06:23 AM
Assuming that you are armed for social encounters with a compact 9mm or maybe even a J-frame .38 when you suddenly encounter black bear (which are usually about 6 feet in height but can get to be 600 pounds ... although 300 pounds is more the average) who is in 'attack mode' over something you unknowingly did (maybe disturbed his supper, 'marked' his terrority, etc.) to piss him off and escape is not an option.

Shooting at the body is unlikely to do much good and a waste of ammo but what about shooting at the face? Even if you don't kill him, wouldn't a few of those rounds stinging him in such a sensative area cause him to back off and seek a prey that wasn't inflicting so much pain? And of course, a bullet can take out an eye and/or hit the brain, thus causing further damage.

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PS: My wife & I were showing our little one pictures of our honeymoon and we recalled that I was chased by a bear. Fortunately, the jeep was nearby and we drove away (although he did get fairly close and even ran after the jeep for a little while) but I was just thinking of the possibilities if escape wasn't an option and that's how this thread was born.

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Lone Star
February 23, 2003, 07:18 AM
Shoot him in the nose with something reasonably potent, and the bullet may well pass though to the brain. Don't shoot him in the forehead.

Shooting through the throat just below the head of a standing bear may impact the spinal column.

The nose shot no doubt works best if the bear has chased you up a tree.

A game warden in Wyoming killed a grizzly with a .357 bullet to the heart, I think, after firing the other five shots wildly into the body when the bear took him down. He panicked and didn't aim at specific target areas on the bear. The gun was an S&W Model 66, but I've never seen the load in print.

Men have killed bears with knives; a gun should do better. Go by a museum or zoo and study bear anatomy and how they move. That will give you a feeling for where to aim.

Lone Star

mtnbkr
February 23, 2003, 09:31 AM
In one of his articles on Sixgunner.com, Paco Kelly talks about killing a Virginia black bear with a single shot to the lungs with a 38special loaded hot. The load was a 148gr HBWC loaded backwards. IIRC, it was a reflex shooting when they surprised each other in the woods. I think the bear ran off about 50yds before dying.

Chris

Blackhawk
February 23, 2003, 10:45 AM
Anything that's expressed an intent to do me violence deserves to get shot in the face.

Redlg155
February 23, 2003, 11:01 AM
If at all possible I'd suggest dropping to one knee so that your shots are either directly frontal facing or angled slightly upward in relation to the height of the bear. A straight forward shot in the nose will travel back into the throat or brain. An upwards angle shot will have a good chance of travelling to the brain through a section of the skull that is not as thick. A throat shot will also have a good chance of penetrating to the spine.

In a typical standing position you will shooting downwards at the bear. The possibility of a shot glancing off the skull or going through the nasal cavity without damaging too much is pretty high.

Good Shooting
RED

HABU
February 23, 2003, 01:09 PM
Living and hunting in bear country, I have thought about this a lot. Blackhawks comment cracked me up, but I wouldn't aim for the face. Chances are that you are predominately going to be offered a front on only presentation. Face shooting is not going to be productive unless you hit him in the eye, nose or open mouth. Mr. Bear gets it in the chest first, then if he comes close enough to guarantee a shot into the nose, its lights out. I dont own a J-frame or a 9mm so I am always packing .45. I know that is outside the paramaters of your scenario, sorry. When in the woods, I carry ball ammo loaded heavy. I lean towards good penetration as opposed to expansion. Hopefully, I never have to defend against a pissed off b'ar

Keith
February 23, 2003, 02:26 PM
Black bears CAN reach 600 pounds, but that is rare indeed. An average black bear is only a little larger than a human, perhaps 200 - 250 pounds. Any reasonably potent round will kill a black bear.

The question becomes; will you kill him before he gets to you?

I'd aim for the nose. Miss left or right, take out a shoulder. Miss high and maybe get a spine shot. You can't even see the chest of an approaching black bear at close range because his head is in the way.

Keith

trapshooter
February 23, 2003, 02:55 PM
I think you'd be better off kicking the bear in the crotch, to give you time to use the specified gun(s) for something useful, like terminal pain relief.:evil: :what: ;)

Coltdriver
February 23, 2003, 03:23 PM
You'd have to be a pretty cool calm and collected person to take a good aim at a pre selected point when you are about to be bit by a charging bear:D

If a black bear actually decided to go after you, you would be lucky to get your gun out, let alone take aim.

The best thing to do if you are charged, believe it or not, is to stand up, put your arms out and scream like hell. If the bear thinks you are much larger than you are, he will usually back off or run. If you can whistle like you would at a ball game that will also sometimes make em turn and run. I have chased bears away from my camp in the Rockies on a couple of occasions and I know this works.

If the bear is sick or wounded (and hungry) all bets are off and I hope you manage to shoot em dead. This also only works on black bears. Anything larger and you will have to create your own solution:p

We have a couple of black bears in my neighborhood and when all of my wifes yelling would not budge a bear in our garbage, the old whistle trick made em run like he was scalded.

I'd say, if you have to shoot, just make sure you hit em every time and hope for the best.

Woodchuck
February 23, 2003, 03:55 PM
Never shoot a bear with any handgun unless it is at least a 44mag.. I know a guy who shot a black bear with a .357 mag. pistol using lead bullets. He shot the bear in the head with many of the rounds. After the bear finally died, he skinned the bear and found that all of the head shots did not penetrate the skull. The shot that downed him was in the bear's chest (lungs I think). All of the head shots ended up between the skull and hide. The only head shot that will work is through one of the above mentioned openings in the skull(nose, eyesockets or open mouth.) There aren't many that are good enough to hit those, only if lucky. The vital organs on a bear aren't all that big. If you've ever gutted a bear, you know what I mean.

Blackhawk
February 23, 2003, 04:24 PM
The best thing to do if you are charged, believe it or not, is to stand up, put your arms out and scream like hell. If the bear thinks you are much larger than you are, he will usually back off or run. If you can whistle like you would at a ball game that will also sometimes make em turn and run. I have chased bears away from my camp in the Rockies on a couple of occasions and I know this works.I've used that technique on dogs since I was a kid and some mutt would go after me on my bicycle. Scared the whizz out of the dog, and it was a permanent cure for the chasing ME problem.

It all depends on WHY the bear is after you.... :what:

MCNETT
February 23, 2003, 06:23 PM
I have taken two 200-250lb black bears with my 10mm loaded with 180XTP and 200XTP handloads. I have not recovered a bullet. That was while hunting. While camping and hiking I have scared a dozen different black bears off with tree branches or whistles. Unless there is a cub around or the bear is wounded, he will stay away. I would think that a 9mm with hot FMJ's or a 38+p with heavy hardcast slugs would work best for you if things got ugly. If he could not be scared away with the waving of arms and whistles, then you'll probably get a CLOSE look at him. That being the case, either of the above mentioned loads would do OK.
-Mike

Wildalaska
February 23, 2003, 07:30 PM
Never shoot a bear with any handgun unless it is at least a 44mag

Tell that to the guy that killed a griz last year on the Kenai River with a Glock 9mm...

BTW read Keiths advice...hes right on and he knows about bears....

What you carry btw depends on where you are....

cratz2
February 23, 2003, 08:30 PM
A couple into the ocular or nasal cavities would be my first instinct. Or the throat/neck area probably wouldn't be bad either but with a tenacious bear, I'd have to think the brain shot would be more immediately effective.

I'd probably go with LSWC ammo and I'd personally feel much more comfortable with with a longer barrel and of course probably a 357 Magnum but with a 2" barrel, I don't know how well-armed I'd feel. :(

standingbear
February 23, 2003, 08:45 PM
id aim for anywhere that the bone structure would be thinnest if i thought a bear was intent on eating me.nose,back of the throat via inside the mouth.bears that are used to humans throwing food out their cars are the ones id worry most about.

HABU
February 23, 2003, 09:18 PM
If you've ever gutted a bear, you know what I mean.
I have skinned a few bears for taxidermy, taking them down to the very last knuckle. a skinned out b'ar looks eerily human like.:what:

Kahr carrier
February 23, 2003, 09:54 PM
I would shoot for the face or throat.:D

TexasVet
February 24, 2003, 12:36 AM
A late friend of mine was a guard at a gold camp in Alaska for a while back in the 70's. He always carried a 44 Mag Ruger and a 12 ga shotgun. He said the Ruger was for feral hippies and the 12 ga was for bear. A shot load in the chamber and slugs in the mag. I asked him why the shot load and he replied, "A blind bear is much easier to place the slugs into."

Redlg155
February 24, 2003, 01:31 AM
Tell that to the guy that killed a griz last year on the Kenai River with a Glock 9mm...

That's a brave guy. I used to live in Delta Junction and spent a lot of time hunting. A time or two I've come across a half buried kill from a bear. Talk about raising the hair on the back of your neck!:eek:

A lot of times I was just after snowshoe hares or grouse. Even with a .44 Mag on my hip I still was scared enough to get back on my 4 wheeler and get the heck out of there pronto! :D

I couldn't imagine taking one on with a 9mm.


Good Shooting
RED

badgerrr
February 24, 2003, 03:03 AM
I seem to recall seeing some camera footage of a lone hiker who encountered a blackie that had decided to make lunch out of him. The bear didn't charge nose on. He was walking up to the guy with nose down, kinda following the guys scent. He offered plenty of good .38 caliber shots straight down into his brainpan from the top.

Seems to me I've heard Rangers or someone say that in most human attacks involving blackies....the critter just walks up and starts chewing.

The hiker got away by dropping a glove and getting outta there. The bear got distracted by the human smelling article of clothing.

twoblink
February 24, 2003, 04:42 AM
Well, don't shoot a bear in the body.. With a 9mm, you might piss it off more, or not even that, the amount of fat on a bear is amazing, if you caught him in his sleep, the fat is even more... You aren't going to kill a bear with a 9mm in the body... aim for a paw is possible, but they move FAST, like 35mph groundspeed, so unless you are Annie Oakley, you aren't going to hit him before he has caught up to you.

Don't do something stupid like climb a tree... He's a MUCH better climber then you, he can go down a tree... head first!! Which leads us to the part about his nails... Razorblades, 3"-5" long. Don't get near them.

Don't shoot him in the forehead. His skull is HARD, a 9mm is a joke against that skull... Up the nose is the only thing I can think of... and hopefully into the brain... Other then that, hope you brought a friend who's got something like a Mauser.!

Just remember, in case of a bear, don't have to outrun the bear, just outrun your friend!

Oleg Volk
February 24, 2003, 10:32 AM
Seeing a photo of a half-eaten hiker a while back prompted me to start designing posters on the topic of being armed to avoid being bear lunch. Have been thinking about captions, something about "reasoning with a bear or giving it what it wants (yourself) is unsatisfactory. Have a backup solution."

If anyone has access to good, high-res clip art photos of brown or grizzly bears, please let me know.

Alan Fud
February 24, 2003, 11:16 AM
My little one has several books which contain some pretty good photos which I could scan in for you. The only problem is that the images are copyrighted. If that isn't a problem, then let me know and I'll try to get some to ya by mid-week.

Oleg Volk
February 24, 2003, 11:47 AM
Can't do copyright violations. Need (c)-free.

Woodchuck
February 24, 2003, 12:05 PM
quote:
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Never shoot a bear with any handgun unless it is at least a 44mag
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Tell that to the guy that killed a griz last year on the Kenai River with a Glock 9mm...

BTW read Keiths advice...hes right on and he knows about bears....

What you carry btw depends on where you are....
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------All I can say is, the guy who shot the bear with a 9 has to have a lot of balls. They're probably so big that he can't run. Either that or they grew so big that his body didn't have enough nutrition left to grow his brain.

hso
February 24, 2003, 12:51 PM
I'm curious, were all the mentioned bears killed at contact range or were they all killed while handgun hunting?

Edward429451
February 24, 2003, 12:53 PM
When I was a kid I didn't want to lug a 12 gauge around so I just took my pet wandering with me to take the heat in case we met up with a badguy bear. No sweat. Better'n a 9!

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