Grizzly attacks hunter in Wyoming


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Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 10:50 AM
I do not believe that carrying a handgun for bear protection during hunting season is effective when you are already carrying a big game rifle. This story is just one of several I know of from first hand accounts that reinforces my belief.

IMO, If you have time to draw a handgun, you have time to employ the rifle you are carrying, or better yet pepper spray. -- Elkslayer

By WHITNEY ROYSTER
Star-Tribune environmental reporter
JACKSON -- Weston Scott crept through the Bridger-Teton National Forest Sunday looking to flush out an elk. It was morning, just before 11.

In the flat, heavily timbered area, he heard a rustling. It was just 10 feet ahead behind some bushes. Scott said he was "kind of excited." He thought it was a big bull elk.

It wasn't. It was a 600-pound grizzly bear.

The first thing Scott saw was the bear's head, and it was coming at him. He drew up his rifle but managed only to get a shot off from about his hip when the bear was on top of him.

"I think it went right over his head," he said from his hospital room in Idaho Falls on Wednesday. "That was all I had time to do. He was on me after that."

As Scott, 32, fell to the ground, the bear bit him in the face. The animal took out four teeth on Scott's lower jaw and a one-inch portion of jawbone. Earlier reports in the Casper Star-Tribune incorrectly reported the nature of his injuries.

Scott later told his wife, Tammy, that he was "sure" he was dead when he saw the bear so close. He told her the bear made no sounds -- no grunting or growling.

"It was definitely coming after him to hurt him," she said. "It was coming at him with his mouth open."

She said her husband never said anything about pain, possibly because his adrenaline kicked in immediately.

"I can't imagine the absolute terror he must have experienced," she said.

Tammy Scott said after the bear bit her husband's face, the animal continued to knock him around.

"He's got surface wounds kind of everywhere" -- on his knees, side and back, she said. "Looking at him, you know he got rolled around by a bear."

The bear ultimately swung one last time at Scott, pushing him between two trees, and left.

Scott got up and ran out of the woods, about a quarter of a mile, he said. On his way out, he could see the bear still in the area. Officials say the animal was then killed by a hunting companion who said the bear was approaching him.

The attack happened in Hunt Area 83, an area called the Moccasin Basin near Dubois. He hunts there every year with family and friends. The Scotts have homes in Gillette and Laramie.

Tammy Scott said on Friday a member of the hunting party saw a bear. She said the group knows the area is grizzly bear country, and every year a gut pile or head will be dragged off by a bear.

"There are usually signs of bears around," she said. "They know they're there."

Her husband carries pepper spray, but he didn't have time to pull it out of the holster during the attack Sunday.

After Scott ran out of the woods, his friends called emergency dispatchers, and a helicopter came to the area within an hour and a half and took him to Idaho Falls.

Scott told his wife he doesn't intend to go back to the area to hunt. He is the second hunter to be mauled in less than two weeks in the northwest corner of the state. Wally Cash of Gillette was mauled Sept. 21 outside Moran.

"I don't think he will hunt in grizzly bear country again," Tammy Scott said. "One of the first things out of his mouth was, 'I don't ever want to feel like that again.'"

Environmental reporter Whitney Royster can be reached at (307) 734-0260 or at royster@trib.com.

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Chipperman
October 8, 2004, 11:42 AM
OK, so why is it not a good idea to have a handgun as a backup?
This guy used the rifle and got off one shot, which missed.

Use the rifle if you can, but if it is knocked out of your hand, you're SOL. He may have been able to draw a handgun and fire. Maybe not, but I'd rather have it than not.

El Rojo
October 8, 2004, 11:47 AM
Hmmm, I think I would want to have my M1 Garand in that territory. Even more important than that, I would want to have my M1 Garand and be able to hit something everytime with it. I wonder if he was at low ready when he went up there to that bush? I think I would be even if I thought it was a big elk!

Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 01:15 PM
First off let me say I have never been mauled. I have had five stand-off encounters with griz.

Those who have been mauled that I have talked to say the bear is on you so G*# Damn fast that you may barely have time to raise the rifle much less aim.

They tell me once you are on the ground, the bear is smacking you around so violently you are so busy playing cover-up to keep him from crushing your skull that it would be folly to think you could afford to reach down, un-snap the strap on the holster and shove the handgun, that may or may not still be there, up against the bears head and dispatch it.

That is what I have learned for those folks with the scars to prove it, but YMMV.

Cosmoline
October 8, 2004, 02:30 PM
It's another good argument for practicing shooting from the hip with your bolt action, esp. if it has a high-powered scope. Rifles can indeed be aimed with the barrel at objects inside of 25 yards. But it's a skill that must be obtained through practice.

Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 03:15 PM
I think the point I'm trying to make and have failed to make so far, is, TIME. From the time you know you are being charged to the time the bear is upon you (literally upon you) you don't have that much time to react.

Now certinaly there are charges from varing distances and people do spot grizzly bears at long enough distances to avoid them.

What I am saying is, if you spot the bear from a "distance" you can either avoid it or prepare for it. If you have to prepare for a charge the next thing you need to determine is if it is a bluff charge. Most bears who spot you will bluff charge. Bears who are suprised will not bluff charge. There are things you can determine from the bears demeanor to tell if it is a bluff charge. BTW - bluff charges will normally terminate within about 5 feet of you!! :eek: (This is not to be misconstrued as the end-all about bluff charges).

Another thing to remember is if you do shoot a bear (grizzly), wound it or kill it, you had better damn well have bite or claw marks on you, otherwise you are in deeeeeep do do with the feds.

One friend who was mauled was charged from 125 yards. Far enough you would think he could get off a well aimed shot from his 375,,, YES A 375 H&H. Not so, the bear was weaving in and out of the trees like a running back. The shot my friend got off was at 12 feet at a bear traveling at about 30 mph.

gigmike
October 8, 2004, 04:16 PM
I've never seen a bear while hunting, but one morning climbing a steep hillside behind which the sun was rising I found a steaming pile of bear scat. Right then I wished I had iron sites as my scope would be useless looking into the sun, and a .44 magnum. I'm not going to second guess anyone whose been attacked, but it sure seems wise to me to have a second method of defense if attacked.

Shalako
October 8, 2004, 04:27 PM
I'm not big on getting mauled by a grizz. I think before I went into those woods, I'd have a .375, a .44mag revolver, and a damn claymore strapped to my chest that I could pop as a last ditch effort. Pointing outward of course....

TallPine
October 8, 2004, 04:27 PM
bluff charges will normally terminate within about 5 feet of you!!
Well, given any kind of opportunity, I would attempt to terminate a "bluff charge" well before the bear got that close.

Another thing to remember is if you do shoot a bear (grizzly), wound it or kill it, you had better damn well have bite or claw marks on you, otherwise you are in deeeeeep do do with the feds.
The alternative is to be in bear do do :eek:

"What bear? I haven't seen any bears."

Rebar
October 8, 2004, 04:29 PM
I'm not a hunter, so this might sound silly.

Would hunting with a bayonet fixed be of any use in case a bear jumped on you?

keano44
October 8, 2004, 05:22 PM
If ever I have to shoot a bear, the charge was no bluff!

Yes, Rebar, the bayonet would make a nice toothpic for the bear.:D

spacemanspiff
October 8, 2004, 05:33 PM
IMO, If you have time to draw a handgun, you have time to employ the rifle you are carrying, or better yet pepper spray. -- Elkslayer

a pistol can be deployed one handed more effectively than a rifle can.

a rifle takes longer to unsling and shoulder or fire from the hip than it does to draw a pistol from a holster.

a pistol is easier to maneuver and use at contact distance than a rifle.

a rifle will need to have the action worked to get a follow up shot, WHICH WOULD BE NECESSARY. you can have 6 shots of .44 mag at hand, or maybe one shot of .3xx superduperbigmanelephantkiller.

limiting oneself to only a big-bore rifle could very well get a person killed.

do a search for 'bear attacks', theres dozens of examples of people getting attacked and their long rifles being useless when a pistol could have been useful.

Gewehr98
October 8, 2004, 05:37 PM
Until Magnum Research makes a snubby version of their .45-70 BFG revolver. But those bruins are indeed fast on the approach, I've seen that first-hand in Alaska. Wasn't the victim supposed to wear those little jingle bell things? That way, they could identify the scat pile.

I've been told that the best defense against bears is to have good footwear for the terrain, and a slower partner. The rest will take care of itself in short order. ;)

Cosmoline
October 8, 2004, 05:43 PM
A pig-sticker bayonet like an old Mosin's might be of some use against a smallish garbage-fed black bear. Spears were the traditional method of killing bruins, and a big old battle rifle with a pig sticker is really just a heavy spear. But you'd have to know what you were doing, and you'd have to nail the heart on the first thrust and be able to keep clear of the beast.

Against a brownie like the kind around my place--HA! You might get the rifle stuck in the hide and muscle, but then you'd lose it a second later as the bear reacted by knocking your hind end ten feet through the air. It's about as realistic as Anthony Hopkins' bear killing technique in "The Edge." :D Fun to contemplate, though.

Second the comments re. speed. They move FAST when they want to. If you get ambushed by one, you've probably had it. There is something to be said for keeping a small pocket pistol on your person. In prior incidents, bear have buried mauling victims in mizzens to cure their meat. The victims aren't always quite dead at the time, since bear don't do clean kills like a lion. A little .380 would be just about right to wrap things up.

Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 06:24 PM
Ok, try this.

You and your buddy stand, say, 21 feet (7 yards) apart. It would be more realistic if he stood behind you or you didn't know where he was. Maybe have him wait for you around a corner of your house and you walk around your house not knowing which corner he is around.

You have on your favorite holster and have a plastic toy handgun resembling your carry weapon. (you can use your carry weapon in this experiment unloaded but that is up to you).

Without warning have him charge you and take a open-handed swipe at you or better yet have him shove you so you loose your balance (not so rough that you fall down, remember this is only an experiment, not the tryouts for linebacker).

When you have done this tell me you cleared leather and got off a well-aimed, one-shot killing round. :p

Remember, a grizzly bear is one hell of a lot faster than your friend is.

spacemanspiff
October 8, 2004, 07:19 PM
When you have done this tell me you cleared leather and got off a well-aimed, one-shot killing round.

seeing how i'm an old salt at playing keyboard-teenage-mutant-zombie-mallninja-bear-killer, lets indulge in your scenario.

you're in the brush. no one around except maybe your buddy. no homes are nearby and there are no other hunters within 3 miles. are you really going to try to get one well aimed shot at anything?

dunno bout you, but if my fat rearend is out in the boonies and i have my 8mm mauser slung over my shoulder (since inching around the woods in a ready-crouched position with rifle shouldered is not as much fun as it sounds) and a .44mag oh my hip, and a bear approaches, i'm gonna spray and pray. in fact, i'm gonna have TWO, not one but two .44 magnums so i can do a new york reload.
i'm also not going to stand still, i'm gonna be moving laterally and backwards and leaning left to right. and in my off hand i'm gonna have a machete to hack with as i drop one pistol and draw another.

i'll finish the teenage-mutant-zombe-mallninja-bear off with a tc encore in .17hmr, single shot to the brain stem.

Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 07:29 PM
"i have my 8mm mauser slung over my shoulder (since inching around the woods in a ready-crouched position with rifle shouldered is not as much fun as it sounds) and a .44mag oh my hip, and a bear approaches, i'm gonna spray and pray"

OK,, let me know how it works out.;)

Still want to hear how you & your buddy fair with the experiment, Quickdraw. :D

spacemanspiff
October 8, 2004, 07:42 PM
you're losing me here....

I do not believe that carrying a handgun for bear protection during hunting season is effective when you are already carrying a big game rifle. This story is just one of several I know of from first hand accounts that reinforces my belief.
first you state that if you have the time to draw a pistol you have the time to use your big bore rifle.
how about you do the experiment with an airsoft rifle first, and tell us how many shots you were able to take when your buddy runs at you from 21 feet and you have to unsling your rifle and shoulder it, or at least take shots from the hip 'rambo style'?

i'm not the one making ridiculous claims here that 'no hunter should need a pistol as backup when they are out hunting'. if you dont wish to be prepared while out hunting in the boonies, so be it. maybe you shouldnt be trying to encourage others to follow your footsteps though?

:neener:

Elkslayer
October 8, 2004, 08:08 PM
I am not saying you should not carry a handcannon.


I am saying the folks I have interviewed who bare the scars from bear (grizzly) attacks tell me there isn't enough time to deploy a handgun and if there was there was, there was enough time to take a well aimed shot with a high powered big game rifle (i.e. a caliber of 30-06 or above) shot (if needed). And this story and others just like it prove the point.

If you want to carry a 105 howitzer with a 4" bbl go for it.

I am saying the isn't enough TIME to use the handgun!!

And I haven't looked into my loading books yet but I'd think that a big game rifle (as described above) would have more terminal energy at those ranges than the conventional handgun.

There is a difference between getting surprised at 10 yards in heavy timber and seeing the danger at 250 yards above timberline.

Jon Coppenbarger
October 8, 2004, 08:39 PM
I think elkslayer is quite correct in ever way on this subject.
Yes I might carry a handgun but I really doubt that I would drop my rifle to try and draw a handgun and yeah I really do not think if you suprize a griz you are going to do much but what that guy did or elkslayers friend did.
I think you just be carefull and hope your luck does not run out.

Gabe
October 8, 2004, 08:54 PM
At that kind of range I would think an axe would be a lot more useful than a handgun. Good whack to the nose is more reassuring to me than a .43 hole through bear fat.

Cosmoline
October 8, 2004, 09:05 PM
Axe? Ha. Gene Moe did it with a little skinning knife :D

buzz meeks
October 8, 2004, 11:27 PM
Something that some of us may be overlooking is that the hunter survived. He will be scarred for life but he is alive. The number of bear-country hunters who get mauled is small. The number of those who get killed is smaller still.

Would wounding this bear with a handgun have helped? I doubt it. I'm on the very fringes of Montana's grizzly habitat and I do carry a handgun when I'm in grizz country. But I'm starting to wonder why. If there's time, the elk rifle that's in my hands will suffice. And if there's no time, there's no time.

BruceB
October 9, 2004, 01:20 AM
I lived and worked in bear country for several decades, met many black bears, quite a few griz, and even a few of the big white ones, and learned a few things about them all. The most important fact I learned is that NOBODY can predict exactly what a given bear is going to do in a given time and situation. (Less than a year after we left the Far North in '97, a man was killed in his sleeping bag and partly eaten by a black bear, less than a mile from our former home in the bush. Don't believe that blackies aren't dangerous!)

Most replies on this thread have ignored a very basic problem for people working or hunting in bear country, and that is, you simply can NOT have a rifle in your hands all the time! You have to cook, cut firewood, use the cat-hole crapper behind the tent, sleep in that tent....many things have to be done that absolutely prevent you from having the rifle in position for a shot. The single, overpowering advantage of the heavy handgun is that it can be WORN, and that's just what I used to do....the .44 Magnum was an article of clothing, even more important than my pants. Everywhere I was, there also was the .44, and I'd feel naked without it. I believe that everyone should carry such a gun in bear country, if they have one available.

Whether or not there's "time" to accurately fire a rifle in an attack is immaterial, if the rifle isn't right in your hands! Also, anyone carrying his rifle slung in bruin country is giving up some serious tactical advantages. In brushy areas, my rifles have their slings removed, both because I don't use them in such conditions, and because of the tendency for slings to hang up on branches etc, at the worst possible moment...like a bear attack? Even in the barrengrounds north of timberline, the grizzlies lie up in the bits of brush in low-lying areas to ambush caribou in the otherwise-open country....we want to be VERY CAUTIOUS about approaching such places, believe me!

I'd say that a bear encounter is more likely around one's camp than 'most anywhere else, although I have met many bears well away from camp, too. Because of the difficulty of doing prospecting, or claim staking, or geophysical work while carrying a rifle, our routine was to take a rifle out of camp in the morning, and leave it somewhere nearby for convenient pick-up on the way back into camp in the evening. This way, we weren't stuck with a rifle inside the same tent as the bear! The procedure paid-off BIG time on several occasions. I carried the .44 magnum revolver all day, every day.

Looking back, and hindsight being so very accurate, I believe a handgun carried as bear insurance might benefit a great deal by having a lanyard attached. Should an attack then somehow dislodge the gun from the hand, at least some slight possibility of getting it back and using it would still exist. I have slept with a .44 tied to my wrist on a few occasions when the bears were "operating" very close to camp, but never did have a proper lanyard as such. Tents are no protection at all, of course, and in addition, sleeping in one leaves us completely blind to what's outside. I'd rather post an armed guard rotation than sleep blind like that, if the critters are moving in the camp area, and have done that as well from time to time.

Anything that gives me a better chance against the worst possibilities is something I WANT, and in these cases my handgun was great insurance, Besides, I love good guns of any kind, and a nice revolver is fun to have along.

itgoesboom
October 9, 2004, 01:26 AM
I have seen a video of a medium sized grizzly attack. I believe the victim was a park ranger, and they were doing something with the bear. Anyways, the put themselves in the position of being close to it.

The bear attacks the ranger incredibly quickly, no time to react. The bear had the ranger on the ground before you could even process what had happened, but the ranger kept fighting, and tried to block his face with his left arm, he reached down with his right and got out a .357mag revolver, and put 6 rounds into the bear, which then collapsed on the ranger....dead right there.

Without that pistol, that ranger was dead meat.

I.G.B.

Elkslayer
October 9, 2004, 12:13 PM
I will reinterate my point for the purpose of discussion focus.

I am refering to the narrow situation of still hunting, primarily for elk, in heavy brushy timber in the lower 48 states which harbor grizzly bears during said activity you are carrying IN YOUR HANDS (not slung on your shoulder) a rifle of a normal elk hunting caliber.

I am not speaking of those instances where one might be looking for mushrooms, arrowheads, forest pixies, or taking a crap while prospecting. During those times I would think a boombox playing any kind of RAP music (?) would be close to perfect to keep dangerous things away. Of course it could attract some "boyz from th' hood" :D

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