Another bear attack in Alaska


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Preacherman
July 23, 2005, 10:10 AM
From the Anchorage Daily News (http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/6738624p-6626281c.html):

Brown bear attack leaves Texas Boy Scout injured but relieved

'This boy's going to have bragging rights at school'

By MEGAN HOLLAND
Anchorage Daily News

Published: July 23rd, 2005
Last Modified: July 23rd, 2005 at 02:52 AM

A brown bear mauled a 15-year-old Boy Scout from Texas on Friday near Cooper Landing, Alaska State Troopers said. After undergoing surgery, the boy was listed in fair condition at an Anchorage hospital.

Alex Benson, who was on a six-day hike with his home state Scout troop, was working on his 50-mile badge hiking the Resurrection Pass Trail from Hope to Cooper Landing. Just half an hour from the end of the hike, he startled the brown bear on the trail and was bitten at least twice before the bear ran off. The boy was left with a shredded arm and puncture wounds in his leg.

Benson, interviewed at his hospital bed, described the bear, which also swatted at the teenager while he was on the ground, as twice his size.

Benson was among two dozen 13- to 16-year-old boys and their fathers who left Texas last week for the Boy Scout trip to Alaska. Trip leader and former Alaska resident Paul Fletcher planned the hike for Troop 262 of Plano, Texas, near Dallas. He schooled the boys and adults on bear safety, and three fathers carried handguns and four boys carried bear spray on the trek.

The plan was to walk the 40-mile Resurrection Pass Trail, with side hikes to complete the 50-mile badge requirement.

Resurrection Pass Trail on the Kenai Peninsula is bear country. The Russian River, where a brutal mauling occurred two years ago, is about five miles away. The Scouts said they had spotted several bears on the hills they were passing in previous days -- always at a safe distance though.

Thursday morning, the men and boys were split into three groups, with Benson in a group of four that was leading by several hours. The terrain was thick with brush, and the trail narrowed to single file with quick turns that made seeing just a short distance in front difficult, according to interviews with scouts.

Around 9:30 a.m., Benson was in the lead with two boys and an adult immediately behind. The weather was chilly and the boys were excited to be close to the finish. Benson later told friends he was daydreaming of his mother's pumpkin bread, Chicken McNuggets and pizza.

Despite their bear-awareness training, which emphasized that the hikers make noise, Mikey McFatter, 13, said the group was silent. The four were spaced around seven paces behind each other. McFatter, in a telephone interview, said he couldn't hear his father behind him or his friend in front of him.

Then Benson turned a corner and nearly fell on top of the bear. "I think I caught it going to the bathroom," Benson said.

He doesn't remember what the bear bit first -- his leg or his arm. But he remembers its head right next to his, its teeth in him, and it thrashing. He remembers being on his stomach, with his backpack taking the brunt of the attack.

McFatter saw the bear leap onto his friend's backpack and rip the sleeping bag. Benson screamed for help and put his hands and legs up to shield himself.

McFatter and Aaron Chapman, 15, screamed, "Bear!" and Mike McFatter, Mikey's father, fired into the air with his .45-caliber handgun.

Whether spooked by the boy's screaming, the gunshot or its own instincts to get out of there, the bear quickly retreated down the trail. McFatter shot a second and third round into the air. The attack, the Scouts said, lasted less than 10 seconds.

Benson was on the ground when Mike McFatter got to him. He was ashen, shaking and crying. Benson's sleeping bag was shredded, cords were ripped. Fletcher, who arrived at the attack site later, said, "His arm was like a hunk of meat."

But, Chapman said, his tears were also of joy. "He was so happy to still be alive. He was really happy."

Chapman, an Eagle Scout, took off his shirt and applied a tourniquet to Benson's arm and called 911 on his cell phone.

Cooper Landing Volunteer Ambulance responded, and Benson was carried out on a stretcher the remaining two miles of the trail. Also on scene were the Cooper Landing Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service officers and Alaska state troopers.

Troopers believe the bear was an adult.

"The bear attacked quickly," troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. Its behavior, he said, was consistent with a surprised bear. "It was doing what bears are supposed to do. There is no reason to kill it," he said, in explaining the decision to not go after the bear.

Fletcher said Benson is expected to be out of the hospital by early next week.

When back in Texas, Fletcher said, "this boy's going to have bragging rights at school."

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mete
July 23, 2005, 10:27 AM
"daydreaming of his mothers pumpkin bread .." the bear probably smelled that ! A hand gun is marginal for an attacking bear but firing into the air is foolishly wasting ammo.For noise they should have used good whistles. BTW do they still have BS whistles ?I still have mine from the dark ages. "The group was silent" well when you break the rules you put yourselfs at risk !!!

Silver Bullet
July 23, 2005, 12:13 PM
A related thread ... sort of:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174660

Lucky
July 23, 2005, 08:08 PM
I know ppl hate these 'best calibre' what if's, but for just my info, how would 30-30 work if you got off a few shots at the frontal aspect of an oncoming bear? Would it bounce off the skull, would wound-tracks penetrate deep enough in the torso if you missed the head?

steveno
July 23, 2005, 08:12 PM
ideal bear gun:Remington 870 with extended magazine , Brenneke short mag slugs and 36 inch bayonet attached

mussi
July 23, 2005, 08:20 PM
Reputation has it that in Slovenia, 45/70 is pretty effective as a deterrent for bears to regard humans as food.

Malamute
July 23, 2005, 08:23 PM
Good that the boy wasn't hurt any worse.



".....but for just my info, how would 30-30 work if you got off a few shots at the frontal aspect of an oncoming bear? Would it bounce off the skull, would wound-tracks penetrate deep enough in the torso if you missed the head?"


Without wanting to start the full fledged 'bear caliber" discussion, but to answer your question, heavy, solid handgun loads tend to penetrate better in large animals than expanding rifle bullets, particularly in the 30-30 class, but a 30-30 would be better than no gun. I'd go for head shots with 170 gr loads.

black bear
July 23, 2005, 08:24 PM
Every bear that attack a human being should be killed; we are breeding a race of killer bears with that stupid policy of leaving them alone after a mauling.

black bear

Joejojoba111
July 23, 2005, 09:27 PM
What if there are some areas where it's wildlife preservation park, and going in there is really the same thing as clibing into a cage at the zoo? That's sort of how I see some areas, it's the wildlife's area and people just visit. Other areas are people area where the wildlife can be maintained, but I think there are both types of areas.

gunsmith
July 24, 2005, 03:07 PM
Probably seemed like a good idea at the time as he didn't want to shoot the boy scout. Myself I would have shot into the ground or tried to get close enough for a head shot.
I think a .44 magnum is what most alaskans carry,folks with more $ may carry those ruger 480's or 575 linbaughs (or however you spell them) those huge .50 s&w handguns.

carebear
July 24, 2005, 04:58 PM
black bear,

I hope you're joking cause, if serious, that suggestion doesn't match what I understand to be the truth about bear attacks.

The vast majority of bear "attacks" are not predation, they are the result of surprising a bear, who then does his freak out and leaves. That people end up dead or horribly injured is an unfortunate side effect of something that big and well-equipped doing the man dance with a puny human. That surprised bear is as unlikely to maul again as the person is to be mauled.

The only case of bears that "should be killed" are those that actually show persistant aggression toward people, which tends to take two forms.

First, aggression related to human food or garbage, which is typically learned by cubs from a sow who has habituated to humans as a food source or by a lone, more mature bear who has repeatedly been rewarded with food without resistance by unarmed backpackers/fishermen etc. These bears are hard to convince to change their ways and, typically, rapidly escalate the food-seeking behaviour to the point it becomes unsafe.

Second, and much more rare, a bear that has actually killed and eaten a human (with that intent from the beginning) and thus has learned to view humans in and of themselves as a food source.

There's a lot of difference between walking up on a dozing Yogi and getting your hat handed to you and Boo-boo come looking to make you dinner.

Double Naught Spy
July 24, 2005, 05:19 PM
As carebear noted, a lot of these "attack" stories are more about bear home defense against evil two-legged interlopers than they are about an evil bear doing something to the soft and chewy ignorant humans. We keep calling them "bear attacks" just like anti-gun people call a person who blasts away an home invader a vigilante.

Preacherman
July 24, 2005, 07:40 PM
Hmmm... wonder if there's a Boy Scout badge for "surviving a bear attack"? :D

pioneer
July 24, 2005, 07:48 PM
as for a 30-30 win to take care of a bear? well if thats ALL you had it might work if you place your shots and i mean PLACE your shots.however ive heard that people have been killed using a 300 weatherby mag on bears up there.yes the bear was killed but so was he.the hunting guides that ive talked to said they WONT go out after bears with anything less than 375 cal rifles.i asked them,is that by law? they said it was THEIR law period. ;)

Autolite
July 24, 2005, 08:37 PM
We encounter black bears daily where I work. Not a big deal but these particular animals are very accustomed to humans and have no fear of man at all. Not a good thing. I am currently reading a book called "Bear Attacks, Their Causes and Avoidance" by Stephen Herrero. I recommend this book for anyone who intends to enter bear country. Very informative, but the attack desciptions are quite gruesome. The author wanted to impress upon people who might be unfamiliar with bears what these animals are capable of. We have had to dispatch a couple of bears for safety reasons and it was not an enjoyable task. It was done on foot with a .303 British. It was all we we had ...

mountainclmbr
July 24, 2005, 09:37 PM
I live in bear country in Colorado. Black Bears. They cause the most damage in spring when hungry and in fall when trying to prepare for hibernation. We had an attempted break-in last fall. The bear probably smelled dog food in our wash room. It clawed out the dryer vent and then smashed out a window, frame and all. We were out of town, but I am sure our dog was raising all sorts of hell. The bear never got inside, but the repairs took some time for me. We see bears occcasionally. I would not like to kill one, but keep a 12 Ga and 3" Mag 00Buck for last resort.

Libertyteeth
July 25, 2005, 12:17 AM
Joejojoba111

"What if there are some areas where it's wildlife preservation park, and going
in there is really the same thing as clibing into a cage at the zoo? That's
sort of how I see some areas, it's the wildlife's area and people just visit.
Other areas are people area where the wildlife can be maintained, but I think
there are both types of areas."

Not with my permission or concurrence. Yellowstone would be an example. It gripes me to no end that the national park nazis prohibit the carrying of firearms for self protection.


carebear
"black bear,

I hope you're joking cause, if serious, that suggestion doesn't match what I understand to be the truth about bear attacks.

The vast majority of bear "attacks" are not predation, they are the result of surprising a bear, who then does his freak out and leaves. That people end up dead or horribly injured is an unfortunate side effect of something that big and well-equipped doing the man dance with a puny human. That surprised bear is as unlikely to maul again as the person is to be mauled.

The only case of bears that "should be killed" are those that actually show persistant aggression toward people, which tends to take two forms."


Way too much sympathy for bears being shown here. If a bear attacks you for whatever reason, you are justified in shooting it in defense of yourself (or someone else). If the bear is on top of you mauling you, you won't know whether it is a "persistent offender" or not, and it would hardly matter.

If it attacks someone and suffers no consequences, it is going to learn an "antisocial" lesson, and quite possibly pose a threat to other humans. Even if this turns out to not be true, so what? The life of an attacking bear is just not of much concern to me, sorry.

rick_reno
July 25, 2005, 01:24 AM
Good to hear the kid is going to be ok. Hope they gave him his 50 mi badge - he was only 20 mins from the finish when he ran into the bear.
A good book on this subject is "Bear Encounter Survival Guide" by James Gary Shelton

carebear
July 25, 2005, 01:51 AM
Libertyteeth,

You're reading a great deal into what I wrote and based on the context, I'm not sure how. I was solely responding to this statement-

Every bear that attack a human being should be killed; we are breeding a race of killer bears with that stupid policy of leaving them alone after a mauling.

That statement (although I may reading into it) seems to say that any bear that attacks a person in any way should be hunted down and killed after the fact.

Which to my thinking, and in my bear experience and education, is asinine. The evidence we have nowhere demonstrates that a bear surprised on a kill or surprised in any other circumstance that mauls and leaves is more likely to develop aggressive tendencies than a deer or woodchuck surprised in similar circumstances. Read the actual studies, not "True Adventure" stories in men's magazines. Aggression against humans is almost solely connected to food and garbage. So it DOES matter if it turns out "not to be true" (which in fact is the case, as it has been demonstrated and documented time and time again).

Killing as you suggest, against all the evidence, is ignorant barbarism and unworthy of an intelligent person.

In any case, I should think any of my comments on other "bear" threads would make my position on an individual defending themself against an attack clear. If not, here it goes...

You have the right and responsibility to defend yourself and others against an attack using whatever means you can muster. I'm not even one of those who makes a habit of second guessing whether it was a "bluff charge" or the real deal. I figure if you have done any study of bear behaviour and decide the bear needs shooting right now, you are as justified as you need to be.

So try reading posts for context and reading bear studies for information before you bluster about "killin' b'ars". :rolleyes:

4570Rick
July 25, 2005, 02:23 AM
Not related to this story but...

Go to the link for pics.

http://mountainsurvival.com/news_articles/bearattack.html

A VERY BIG BEAR....Read Story First

The following (first two) pictures are of a guy who works for the US Forest Service in Alaska and his trophy bear. He was out deer hunting last week when a large grizzly bear charged him from about 50 yards away. The guy unloaded his 7mm Mag Semi-automatic rifle into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. The big bear was still alive so he reloaded and shot it several times in the head. The bear was just over one thousand six hundred pounds (1600#). It stood 12' 6" high at the shoulder, 14' to the top of his head. It's the largest grizzly bear ever recorded in the world.

Of course, the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Commission did not let him keep it as a trophy, but the bear will be stuffed and mounted, and placed on display at the Anchorage airport (to remind tourist's of the risks involved when in the wild). Based on the contents of the bears stomach, the Fish and Wildlife Commission established the bear had killed at least two humans in the past 72 hours. His last meal was the unlucky nature buff in the third picture below. The US Forest Service, backtracking from where the bear had originated, found the hiker's 38-caliber pistol emptied. Not far from the pistol was the remains of the hiker . The other body has not been found. Although the hiker fired six shots and managed to hit the grizzly with four shots (they ultimately found four 38 caliber slugs along with twelve 7mm slugs inside the bear's dead body) it only wounded the bear - and probably angered it. The bear killed the hiker an estimated two days prior to the bear's own death by the gun of the Forest Service worker.

Think about this - If you are an average size man; You would be level with the bear's belly button when he stood upright, the bear would look you in the eye when it walked on all fours! To give additional perspective, consider that this particular bear, standing on its hind legs, could walk up to an average single story house and look over the roof, or walk up to a two story house and look in the bedroom windows.

WARNING...The # 3 photo is VERY Graphic.

rick_reno
July 25, 2005, 02:33 AM
4570Rick - this one has been round and round. I'm pretty sure the true version has been posted here - more than once.

Report is here http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/bearhunt.asp

The slain bear shown in these images was shot to death in October 2001 by 22-year-old airman Ted Winnen stationed at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska. His encounter with the enormous ursine took place while he was deer hunting on Hinchinbrook Island in Prince William Sound, as he described to an Anchorage Daily News reported in December 2001:
Winnen and three hunting buddies were dropped off on Hinchinbrook Island in the heart of Prince William Sound by an air taxi on a cool, rainy Oct. 14 morning.

Hinchinbrook is a 165-square-mile island near Cordova with an estimated population of about 100 brown bears, giving it the distinction of harboring the highest density of bears of any island in the Sound, according to Dave Crowley, Cordova area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Four to six bears are killed by hunters on the island every year, though rarely one of more than 400 pounds.

Winnen wasn't there to hunt bear. Instead, he and his hunting buddies packed for a week of hunting for Sitka blacktail deer on the remote, wooded island. Winnen did, however, pick up a permit to shoot a bear just in case.

On day two of the group's hunt, the skies cleared at 8:30 a.m. Winnen and Eielson Staff Sgt. Jim Urban set out to follow a creek bed upstream looking for deer. Urban was carrying a .300-caliber Winchester Magnum. Winnen was carrying his significantly more powerful .338-caliber Winchester Magnum in case a bear crossed their path.

In the creek, they spotted a deep pool with 20 salmon circling.

''By this time, the ... run was over and the salmon were looking pretty nasty,'' Winnen said. ''We started thinking that we were looking at a bear's dinner plate.''

That got Winnen in what he calls ''bear mode.''

The two men continued following the creek upstream until they came to a small island ringed with thick brush. Some end-of-season blueberries clung to the surrounding brush. In the middle of the island was a spruce tree larger than what Winnen could fit his arms around. At the base of the tree were signs that an animal had tried to dig a hole.

About 9:30 a.m., Winnen glanced upstream.

Forty yards away was a big brown bear with all four paws in the creek, flipping over logs looking for salmon.

"He's a shooter," Urban said under his breath.

"So I started getting in the zone," Winnen said. "When I am going to take an animal, I am really concentrating. We racked shells into our guns and took off our packs and left them by the tree."

The hunters moved a few feet upstream. About halfway between them and the bear was a large fallen tree.

"I said, 'When the bear crawls over that log, he will present his vital areas and we'll take him,'" Winnen recalled. "I brought the rifle up to take a shot, but the bear moved over the log like it wasn't there.

"I thought, 'Oh crap.' I didn't have a chance to get a shot off."

As the bear kept coming along the creek, the two hunters momentarily lost sight of him in a thicket, so they retreated back to the big spruce.

"We were sitting there concentrating when, a few seconds later, he pops up right in front of us, about 10 yards away and he was coming toward us," Winnen said. "I don't know if the wind was in our favor or what. We were dressed in camouflage. He might not have seen us."

"I put the scope on him. I wanted to hit him in the chest, but all I seen was nothing but head.

"My partner said, 'Shoot! Shoot!'" Winnen said. "I aimed for his left eye, but the bullet takes an arc and I hit about two inches low in the side of his muzzle and into his brain.

"He buckled backwards and raised his head like he was going to howl at the moon, but nothing came out,'' Winnen said. ''I put two more rounds in the vital area, then three more after that. Six total."

"It was amazing"

"We watched for a few minutes, I reloaded and Jim brought his gun up on him," Winnen said. "I approached from the rear and poked him in the butt to see if he was going to jump, but he didn't move. He was dead."

"It was amazing when I got close to him," Winnen said.

"I picked up the paw and it was like, 'good God.' The thing was as wide as my chest."

After the kill, Winnen and Urban spent six hours skinning the bear and trying to drag its hide and skull back to the Forest Service cabin they had rented.
As this account demonstrates, some of the details in the text that now accompanies these photographs is incorrect:
Ted Winnen, who shot the bear, was an airman with the U.S. Air Force, not a Forest Service employee.

The bear was large, but not a "world record 12 feet 6 inches high at the shoulder" and weighing "over one thousand six hundred pounds." The ursine bagged by Mr. Winnen measured 10 feet, 6 inches from nose to tail and its weight was estimated at between 1,000 to 1,200 pounds an extraordinarily large bear for the Prince William Sound area (about double the average size), but not a world record.

The bear was coming towards Winnen and his hunting partner from about 10 yards away, but nobody knows for sure whether it was "charging them." According to the two hunters, the bear may not even have been aware of their presence.

Winnen bagged the bear with a .338-caliber Winchester Magnum, not a "7mm Mag Semi-auto."

The bear shot by Ted Winnen was not known to have killed any humans.

spacemanspiff
July 25, 2005, 01:16 PM
i just start shooting at anything that looks at me sideways.
i do have to spend a lot more time explaining myself to the whiny fish and game department, but they usually let me go once i tell them 'he was coming right for me!'

:scrutiny:

Andrew Rothman
July 25, 2005, 06:52 PM
Then Benson turned a corner and nearly fell on top of the bear. "I think I caught it going to the bathroom," Benson said.

...thus answering the age-old question of what a bear does in the woods.... :D

NIGHTWATCH
July 25, 2005, 09:35 PM
Did anybody ever see the movie" The Edge" with Anthony Hopkins?

I bought it the other night and was having anxiety attacks with that Grizzly hunting them... It was JAWS with CLAWS. :D

SkunkApe
July 25, 2005, 10:03 PM
Did anybody ever see the movie" The Edge" with Anthony Hopkins?

I bought it the other night and was having anxiety attacks with that Grizzly hunting them... It was JAWS with CLAWS.

I had the opposite reaction. After watching that movie, I'm secure in the knowledge that huge grizzlies can be successfully killed with a long pointy stick. No more 'what gun for bear" questions for me. More like "what kind of wood for bear". Personally, I prefer 6-foot by 4-inch diamter oak. 90-degree included point.

Malamute
July 25, 2005, 10:08 PM
Hey skunkape, look here.

http://leverguns.sixgunner.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10146

SkunkApe
July 25, 2005, 10:28 PM
Ha! Hilarious thread, malamute. Thanks.

For example:


"You better be careful. Having the stick too large in diameter will make it a destructive device. I'm sure too that if it has too many features such as a fire-hardened point, leather or cloth wrap hand-grip, or is too short it could be considered an assault stick. Of course we all know such sticks are more deadly and more likely to be used in a crime rather than for "sporting" purposes."

- Hobie

scotjute
July 26, 2005, 10:43 AM
I believe that most parks should maintain limited hunting on big carnivores. Most of them are genetically programmed to categorize things in one of two ways : something to fear or food. When they no longer fear people, people are switched over to the food category. Limited hunting helps instill the fear of man into them. Maintaining the species is important, single animals are not. Those that attack people should be hunted down and destroyed.

MDHunter
July 27, 2005, 04:12 PM
Before anyone gets trigger-happy and heads for the woods in search of the killer bear, let's remember (as some have already mentioned here) that this bear was DEFENDING itself in its own territory, from a perceived threat.....not searching out these boy scouts, hunting them down, and attacking them.

Calling this a bear attack is akin to calling me a dangerous villain if someone broke into my house with a weapon, and I shot them in self defense. If you venture into the wilderness, you're no longer the dominant predator, and bad things can happen, even if you do everything right.

The situation that occurred several weeks ago in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where a bear came upon a tent camp at night, tore into the tent and killed the husband/wife, is what I would consider an ATTACK - the bear was not surprised, had options, was not starving to death, just decided that it was easier to kill these people than to chase salmon or gather berrries.....that bear was pursued and killed, rightfully so in my opinion.

Glad the boy is safe now, he'll have quite a story to tell his children. I hope he doesn't have nightmares or any aftereffects of that nature.

Michael

BryanP
July 27, 2005, 04:20 PM
Hmmm... wonder if there's a Boy Scout badge for "surviving a bear attack"? :D

Preacherman, if there is it should be in the shape of a tiny pair of soiled underwear. :evil:

carebear
July 27, 2005, 10:43 PM
With the soiling in the shape of a "fleur de pee". :D

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