Montana grizzlies?


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HI express
November 20, 2005, 11:35 AM
Down here in soCal, all we get to hear about grizzlies is how truly efficient they are in stalking humans and how really nasty it could be to encounter a sow with her babies.

So (here's the gun relationship) I see that some folks up in Alaska sometimes carry rifles up there when they're out and about in their part of the country. Now that the news is talking about the grizzly activity is supposed to really be increasing up in Montana and parts of Wyoming, what would you carry in terms of firepower if your area had a proliferation of grizzlies? and you need to protect yourself against a possible grizzly attack?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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TrafficMan
November 20, 2005, 11:44 AM
44Mag or 12ga with slugs...

buzz meeks
November 20, 2005, 12:26 PM
I can only speak to Montana. We just don't have the density of grizzlies here that one might find in Alaska. If we take the NPS, USFS and other federal agencies at their word, we are talking about less than a thousand bears in the greater YNP ecosystem and the Northern Continental Divide area total. That's a lot of acreage for not a lot of bears. And so bear encounters remain rare. And maulings are rarer still. Many outdoorspeople I know carry nothing in bear country. Some rely on bear spray. And some tote firearms. Of those, many settle for something handy like a .357 revolver. The Smith 329 has also gathered a pretty big following. My own choice- a Smith 25-13 loaded with a 255 cast bullet at about 1,000 fps- forfeits sheer power for handiness and portability. Considering I've seen two grizzlies that were close enough to do me harm in the thirteen years I've lived here, I like my choice.

Taurus 617 CCW
November 20, 2005, 12:35 PM
I would use a .50 Beowulf on top of an AR-15 lower. It's really hard to beat fifty caliber in a rifle package.

TallPine
November 20, 2005, 12:38 PM
.45 LC Ruger Vaquero with 300 grain hi-pressure "bear loads"

But that's only when I (rarely) visit western MT. Around here in the pineywood hills the .357 mag D/A is my daily carry.

grizz5675
November 20, 2005, 12:56 PM
I would use a 45/70 guide gun ,nice and short for maneuvering and something like a ruger alaskan in 480 ruger for a sidegun in case you run into a closeup situation.The best way to hunt grizz however ,while in alaska we baited around a known bait tree and layed on top of and outbuilding and kaboomed them from up top.

MachIVshooter
November 20, 2005, 03:58 PM
Grizzly bear attacks are few and far between. The most common instance invlove bow hunters; from a bear avoidance standpoint, they are doing everything wrong. These are typically meeting engagements in which both parties were inadvertantly stalking another predator. Also, bears will often park themselves a short distance from a fresh kill as the hunter is field dressing it. They typically wait and then scavenge the carcass once the hunters have left. The rare occasions in which a grizzly actually stalks a human, the attack is usually so fast the person never has a chance to defend him/herself. Of course, bear attacks usually prove disastrous for both the person and the bear, as even if the bear escapes the initial engagement it is usually hunted down and killed by wildlife officers. Fortunately bears, like most animals, prefer to avaoid humans.

Now do these facts mean I would wander into grizz coutry unarmed? Heck no. Even if the odds are stacked against humans, being properly armed may give you a fighting chance. A handy rifle chambered for a sledgehammer cartridge would certianly be preferable, but sometimes not practical. But I cannot think of a time in the woods when carrying a normal-sized handgun of substantial caliber and a 5-7" fixed blade knife would be inconvenient. Knives have accounted for several people surviving bear attacks in which the were unable to get a shot off. Sure they were injured, but being stabbed and sliced about the face was enough of a deterrent for the bear to leave before finishing. Heck, would you continue an unnecessary battle if it would leave you all cut up?

bearmgc
November 20, 2005, 07:20 PM
This year in Wyoming,there weren't as many grizzly encounters during hunting season. Some folks have postulated that forage was good in the high country this year and the bears stayed high. My personal experience this year was to find grizzly tracks on a lower NF road just outside of Dubois while scouting game. A short time later, I passed a Fish and Game truck; they flagged me down to warn me of a Grizzly in the area. During the season, I shot my deer and went back to the truck retreiving my 12GA Defender full of slugs, to take to the site while gutting and putting my deer on a hauler. Took no chances. Bear spray came along. There is a public petition circulatng around my community to allow bowhunters to carry a sidearm while hunting

rick_reno
November 20, 2005, 07:51 PM
I've been in the Idaho Panhandle for over 15 years; we have grizzly signs up where they live to warn hunters not to shoot them. They're rare and only live in the most northern part of the Panhandle. I've never seen one and I hunt/pick berries/hike in the areas where they're supposed to be.

Silver Bullet
November 20, 2005, 08:03 PM
Well, here's a thread started by a fella who thinks bees and horses are more dangerous than bears:

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

Cosmoline
November 20, 2005, 08:24 PM
Bear attacks are a lot more common up here than in the moutain states, but Griz are nothing to sneeze at. I'm more worried about black bear than the brownies, but griz are different from the coastal brown bears around these parts. Some of them have a mean streak a mile wide and unlike the much larger brown bear they have been known to attack seemingly for the heck of it.

I like a slug gun loaded with the most potent brenneke (NOT foster) magnums or a .45-70 loaded with Buf. Bore. Bolt action rifles are OK, but scoped hunting rifles tend to be hard to use at close range and take too long to deploy. Whatever you have make sure you can get it deployed and firing within about five seconds or just leave it at home. If something is going to happen it will likely happen very very fast. I've rigged up a quick release device for my rifles so they can be brought up without worrying about getting tangled with the sling.

I hate the bells personally. They make too much noise and keep you from using your hearing to listen for rustling, growling, growl-barking, or bone crunching. Plus, you will never convince me the bear are "surprised" by people. They can smell a man a mile away and a week after he's just WALKED through an area. They know exactly what you are and where you are. The key is for YOU to figure out where THEY are and avoid them. In close cover you need your ears for that as much as your eyes.

gunsmith
November 20, 2005, 08:27 PM
and now for an oldy but goody
IDAHO GRIZZLY NOTICE

In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly
bear
conflicts,
the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as well as
National Forest
service are advising hikers, hunters, and
fishermen to
take extra
precautions and keep alert for bears while in the
field.

We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little
bells on
their
clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't
expecting them. We
also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray
with
them in case of
an encounter with a bear.

It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh
signs of
bear
activity. Outdoorsmen should recognize the
difference
between
black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear
droppings are
smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel
fur.
Grizzly
bear dung has little bells in it and smells like
pepper spray.
__________________

Kurush
November 20, 2005, 08:39 PM
JEFFERSONVILLE - Sometimes the night shift can be unbearable.

That was the case last week for Twiggs County sheriff's Lt. Chip Stokes, who described quite an encounter with a black bear hit by a car at about 11 p.m., Nov. 5 on U.S. 129 near Bullard Road.

When Stokes realized the bear was still alive, he said he sought advice from the Department of Natural Resources and was told to euthanize the injured animal with his handgun.

"Maybe with a bazooka, but not a Glock," Stokes said in hindsight.

After firing his 40-caliber Glock pistol into the back of the bear's head, the 150-pound bear got up on his hind legs and started swinging at Stokes, he said.

He fired two more shots into the bear's head, but the bear kept coming at him.

As Stokes got in the patrol car, the bear took a swipe and scratched the driver's side-view mirror, he said.

Stokes loaded a shell in his shotgun and fired the fatal shot.

In his 10 years on the force, Stokes said he's never experienced anything like it. "I've worked bear wrecks before," Stokes said. "Usually the bear is dead and the car is torn all to pieces."

The driver of the car that struck the bear was not injured, he said.
http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/local/13148665.htm

(notice that this was just a 150lb black bear, not a grizzly!)

Now that the news is talking about the grizzly activity is supposed to really be increasing up in Montana and parts of Wyoming, what would you carry in terms of firepower if your area had a proliferation of grizzlies?NOT a handgun :uhoh:

Kurush
November 20, 2005, 08:42 PM
Well, here's a thread started by a fella who thinks bees and horses are more dangerous than bears:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174660Somehow I think that if people started riding grizzly bears and keeping them in hives the statistics would skew a bit differently.

Silver Bullet
November 20, 2005, 08:50 PM
Somehow I think that if people started riding grizzly bears and keeping them in hives the statistics would skew a bit differently.
:D :D :D

Standing Wolf
November 20, 2005, 09:31 PM
If I lived in grizzly country, I doubt I'd rely on a mere .44 magnum.

rick_reno
November 20, 2005, 09:49 PM
I carry a Ruger Alaskan in .454 when in the woods up here. It carries well, with the right holster I don't even know it's there.

silverlance
November 20, 2005, 11:45 PM
and the two people i talked to (FS/NP officers) who had killed or known a guy who killed grizz/bear used .357 magnums.
a single direct hit to the heart to a charging grizzly. of course he followed it up but the very first hit had killed the bear, the 2-3 others were just blowing up flesh.

they carry bear spray, too. they also told me that a 30-30 or 30-06 to the head does not penetrate and many skulls have been retrieved where pieces were chipped off by the round.

again, as others wiser than i have said before, shot placement, not round size.

robertbank
November 21, 2005, 12:02 AM
Here Balck bears can be worse only in that you never know what the heck they intend to do. Most are timid and just leave others...there are a lot of Blacks in our area. Grizlies are just bad most of the time. I carry a .45acp loaded now with hardcast 200 gr LSWC. Just because I need a gun that I can shoot quickly and accurately under stress. Great for Blacks. Marginal for Grizzlies so my 1911 is a back-up to my Mossberg 500 with slugs. I soon will be loading my 1911 with Armco-08 rounds made from .308 Brass. 200 hardcast LSWC going 1500 fps will do about as much damage as I can hope for and the rounds will go down range faster and more of them than I can carry in a wheelgun. Key to remember is any attack will give you little time to react so you have to get into action quickly.

Thankfully bear attacks, like cougar attacks are rare. (Four deaths in Canada last year - all hikers/campers).

Stay Safe

ps I would carry heavier but I can't shoot the heavier handgun calibers fast nor accurately and a miss with a .454 is less effective then 7 hits with a .45acp.

Pilot
November 21, 2005, 12:06 AM
If I lived in grizzly country, I doubt I'd rely on a mere .44 magnum.


Amen brother. I'm nervous with that and the black bears/big cats here in Colorado.

Cosmoline
November 21, 2005, 12:36 AM
Even a .357 200 grain hardcast will absolutely penetrate a brown bear's head and head right into the torso. A .30'06 round of sufficient weight will also have no problem at all. Bullets do NOT bounce of a bear's skull. Now if you try to shoot a charging bruin with a hunting rifle sighted in at 200 yards, you may shoot high and nick its fur--but that's not the bullet's fault. It's also a common error to assume the mass of stuff on top of the head is brain--it's just muscle and fat.

roscoe
November 21, 2005, 01:58 AM
I carry a .45acp loaded now with hardcast 200 gr LSWC.
That is good news - I thought you could not carry a pistol in Canada, even out in the woods.

Harve Curry
November 21, 2005, 12:40 PM
I carry a 44spl with my handloads for black bears arounds. New Mexico. I'ved walked in the dark to a hunting spot and been paralled by a bear for 1/2 hour. Another time a elk/bow hunter got scared off water by a bear that barked at him. He ran out and through his bow in the pick-up hollering go, go!

Bees are the worst, you can't shoot bees. I spent a long uncomfortable night on the contintenatal divide once. The lead horse stepped on a hive crossing a rock slide. I was engulfed in the sworm and had to dismount and run. Caught up with my horse near dark, separated from the others. My dog was in convulsions for awhile, horse was covered with stinger bumps, later I counted 39 in my head/neck.

BTT; if you knew you were in griz country you could carry a bee hive and throw it at the bear, nothing can fight them off.

Silver Bullet
November 21, 2005, 12:55 PM
Bees are the worst, you can't shoot bees.
That's why I always bring a flame-thrower when I'm in bee country.

Double Maduro
November 21, 2005, 07:37 PM
silverlance,

Did they try to sell you any land in Florida while you were there, or maybe a bridge in Brooklyn?

Did they say how big the bear was?

How far it went after being shot?

If it was charging?

Sorry, but I think you have been had by the friend of a friend story embellishing to tease a greenhorn.

I would carry a 12ga. pump with saboted slugs. Nothing smaller.

DM

stevelyn
November 21, 2005, 09:34 PM
I'm more worried about black bear than the brownies, but griz are different from the coastal brown bears around these parts. Some of them have a mean streak a mile wide and unlike the much larger brown bear they have been known to attack seemingly for the heck of it.

I have to agree with Cosmoline on this. Encounters with black bears are much more common (especially in the Interior) than with grizzlies/coastal browns unless of course like me you live in coastal brown country. Black bear encounters tend to be a bit more unpredictable as their aggressiveness is often underestimated.
There is also a lot to be said about the differences in disposition of coastal browns vs interior grizzlies. Having to deal with dumpster-diving browns on a near daily basis, I can say that I would never attempt to do a lot of the same things to an interior grizzly that I do to the local browns. There is also a significant size difference between the two with the grizzlies being smaller in sized compared to their coastal counterparts. This is likely due to food sources.
The grizzlies of the interior and Brooks Range have a nasty disposition and seem to always be looking for a fight. The browns are a little more laid back either ignoring humans or running away.

silverlance
November 22, 2005, 01:18 AM
i dunno. they seemed pretty serious. and i tend to believe forest rangers giving national park tours.

then again, could be they just want to keep us city slickers out of the woods. they also told me some pretty crazy stories about polar bears waiting outside houses for kids to come out during the lean months so they could eat them as they depart for school. therefore, she added, schoolchildren up north are bused 3 blocks to school, with an adult carrying (yup you guessed it) a .357 magnum or shotgun as chaperone.

bs? don't know. you guys who live in the northern territories, you tell me.

gunner03
November 22, 2005, 02:24 AM
I don't recemend it but as kids we shot a black bear in the back (top) of the head with a 22 long, he just slumped and quivered. Two more just in case but it was not needed.

MachIVshooter
November 23, 2005, 12:10 AM
Amen brother. I'm nervous with that and the black bears/big cats here in Colorado.

By the time you realize you've been attacked by a cougar, you are looking down on your body from the heavens.

At least you can hear a bear coming.

bearmgc
November 23, 2005, 01:26 AM
Another good reason to have a big dog along- advance warning.

Gunpacker
November 23, 2005, 11:55 AM
Being a TV junkie, and liking the "Amazing Videos" type shows, I have caught a couple of film clips that might be interesting.
First was a film of a Park Ranger relocating a grizzly bear. He was on top of an approximately 4 foot round trap with a door on the end carried on a trailer. He climbed on top, lifted the door to release the bear. The bear came out, promptly climbed up and grabbed the Ranger. He was armed with a .357 according to narration, and he shot and killed the bear after a brief struggle. No close up or examination of wounds was included.
Another clip was shot by an unarmed guy that was more interested in filming than I would have been. He was stalked by a black bear as he came down a mountain. He had multiple VERY close shots of the bear following him down the mountain as he yelled and screamed at it and threw branches etc, at it. Very determined bear followed him to the bottom of the mountain where he went into a lake as a last effort. The bear did not follow into the water, but waited for a long while. Eventually the bear left. Scariest episode I have seen with a black, for that bear was determined to get at him.
Oh yeah, recent show examining a couple of grizzly attacks where one guy was killed and another fought off a small griz with a knife until he could retrieve his rifle and shoot it, was interesting. The year under examination produced unusual attacks. Food sources for bears had been impacted by weather and nature, and bears were exhibiting unusual behavior in scavenging closer to humans than normal. They were unprepared for winter and thus were more desperate than usual. They thought that rifle shots were seeming to act like a "dinner bell" for the bears, and both attacks were made after the hunters shot a deer. Other hunters had noticed that bears showed up after a kill, most patiently waiting for the hunter to leave the gut pile. Some folks had noticed bears showing up when they were only target shooting. A lot of shooters noticed that, so you hunters watch your backs when you make a kill in grizzly country.

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