Weapon for Hiking in Bear Country


June 23, 2003, 07:15 PM
I guess a .38 isn't enough for Alaska:

"Check this out before going to Alaska:

The following pictures (at bottom) are of a guy who works for the Forest Service in Alaska. He was out deer hunting. 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 capped it in the head. The bear was over one thousand six hundred pounds. 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 game department did not let him keep it. It will be mounted and put on display at the Anchorage airport (to remind tourist's of the risks involved when in the wild).

Think about this - 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 bear, standing on its hind legs, could walk up to an average single story house and look over the roof.

The bear had killed at least two people. His last meal was the unlucky nature buff in the third picture below. The Forest Service found the hiker's 38-caliber pistol emptied. Although the hiker fired six shots and managed to hit the grizzly with four shots (they ultimately found four 38 caliber slugs along with seven 7mm slugs inside the bear's dead body) it only wounded the bear - and probably angered it. The bear killed the hiker an estimated three days prior to the bear's own death by the gun of the Forest
Service worker."

I will NOT post the referenced picture of what's left of the nature buff with the .38.

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June 23, 2003, 07:17 PM
Bear Paw.

June 23, 2003, 08:38 PM
This pic has been recylced over and over again, each time with a more outlandish story. The ADN cleared it up a while back. Apparently this fellow is an Airman on leave. IIRC he took the bear on Hinchenbrook island or a nearby island. It was not a man killer, and there was nothing out of the ordinary in the way it was killed. The bears out there get quite large, though this one is not the biggest.

June 23, 2003, 08:40 PM
yeah, here's the story:


June 23, 2003, 10:43 PM
I guess the point is that if you are going hiking/camping and feel you need a sidearm get a LAW. Wear it in a shoulder holster for very quick access.

June 23, 2003, 11:09 PM
Yet another case for that huge new smith .500

4v50 Gary
June 23, 2003, 11:14 PM
That's one big bear the airman took.:eek:

June 23, 2003, 11:30 PM
So in reality it took 6 shots at close range with a .338 Win Magnum. The first in the skull.

I suppose I should have checked the urban legend factor, but those are a couple of nice photos of one big bear. That paw IS the size of that guy's chest.

I'm still not hiking Alaska with only a .38.:uhoh:

I wonder what chomped the nature lover's thigh down to the bone but left his sneakers and socks in the 3rd gruesome picture I received with this story but didn't post?

June 23, 2003, 11:50 PM
Forest Service's details give the lie to monster hunting myth
Griz wasn't a record and had not killed anyone as far as it is known

Anchorage Daily News

(Published: May 7, 2003)

Theodore Winnen, of the 18th Fighter Squadron at Eielson Air Force Base shot a big brown bear on Oct. 15, 2001 on Hinchinbrook Island. (Photo by Jim Urban / Associated Press archive 2001)


Click on photo to enlarge
Tina in Louisiana wanted to know if the photographs were real. So did Martin, a pastor from Michigan, who wrote, "Are you able to verify for us that they are indeed genuine and true?"

Both Tina and Martin, sending separate e-mail messages to the U.S. Forest Service in Juneau with attached photos of a grizzly killed in Prince William Sound in the fall of 2001, had written their heart-felt wonderment atop a message string that included this text, from a previous e-mail writer:

"Think about it. This thing on its hind legs could walk up to the average single-story house and could look on the roof at eye level."

There was never a question that the brown bear that 22-year-old airman Ted Winnen shot to death in October 2001 on Hinchinbrook Island was huge.

The grizzly measured 10 feet, 6 inches from nose to tail. Its front claws were three to four inches long. An Alaska master guide estimated the bear's weight at up to 1,200 pounds. (Average brown bear weight for Hinchinbrook is less than half that.)

One photo shows Winnen holding the bear's paw as it obscures almost all of his chest. A second photo shows Winnen crouched looking like a child behind the bear's massive, bloody head.

But the "legend" e-mail, as Forest Service spokesman Ray Massey calls the tale that's been making the Internet rounds all this time, has converted the bear into a monster of impossible proportions.

It's now "over one thousand six hundred pounds ... 12'6" high at the shoulder," reads one message Massey has received.

E-mail exaggerations about the animal began to circulate little more than a month after Winnen, stationed at the time at Eielson Air Force Base, shot it while deer hunting with several partners.

Some of the early e-mails reached the Daily News, and the paper published a story about the kill in December 2001 accompanied by the two photos taken by one of Winnen's partners, Eielson Staff Sgt. Jim Urban.

Despite the newspaper story, the e-mails did not stop. Nor did calls to the agency from print and TV reporters wanting to know if the e-mail version was true.

"I've gotten calls from media all over the world," Massey said one day last week. "I got a call from London today."

The Forest Service, which manages the Chugach National Forest encompassing Prince William Sound, gets three or four e-mails about the bear every week that have to be answered, Massey said.

Many of the messages are from people who are skeptical and want confirmation of their doubts from the agency. About 30 percent of the messages come from hunters who are all but certain the tale is a tall one.

What's got Massey somewhat concerned, however, is that the circumstances of the bear's death morphed some time ago into what he terms an urban myth -- about a killer beast taken down by a Forest Service employee.

"He was out deer hunting when a large world class Griz charged him from about 50 yards away," according to one e-mail tale that has been circulating. "The guy unloaded a 7mm Mag Semi-auto into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. This thing was still alive, so he reloaded and capped it in the head. ... It's a world record. This bear had killed a couple of other people."

The bear was not a record, and it didn't kill anyone, as far as is known. It was coming toward Winnen and Urban from about 10 yards away, but it may not have seen them. And Winnen used a .338-caliber Winchester Magnum.

Hoping to debunk the myths, Massey answers the e-mails with plenty of details about the actual size of the bear and the hunt. The Forest Service's Web site provides a news release about the hunt and the rumors.

But now a third photo is making the rounds, a picture that supposedly shows a person's body, the bear's victim.

Massey never opened that attachment, he said.

"I didn't want to see a photo of the body. I know it's bogus."

Massey says there's no way to know how many people are reading the false stuff as the message travels the globe. He just scratches his head and says that, 19 months after the hunt, the story is still going.

"It's like the Energizer bunny," he said. "I have no doubt the Internet is keeping it moving. Otherwise it would have died a long time ago."

June 24, 2003, 01:24 AM
I've heard that the really big brownies on Hinchenbrook, Kodiak, etc. tend to be a lot less prone to attack humans than the somewhat smaller brownies around here, let alone the griz to the north. Humans are too small and low-fat to be of much interest to bear that have whole lakes full of salmon to eat.

June 24, 2003, 10:13 AM
Mmmmm - salmon! :)

June 24, 2003, 10:26 AM
Best thing to have is a friend(?) who runs slower then you do...:evil: :D

June 24, 2003, 12:42 PM
perhaps cosmo, but still, anywhere you may be that you encounter a bear, NEVER assume it doesnt want to take a piece of your hide to see what it tastes like.

my brother was waiting for a flight from kodiak to anchorage a couple years back, and decided to walk down to the river near the airport. walking back, there was fresh bear tracks, and remains of half eaten salmon that werent there when he walked in.

June 24, 2003, 12:57 PM
Sure, sure, sure. But if I had blasted away at every bear I've run across in the past few years, I'd have caused far more problems than I solved.

When was the last fatal attack on a human by a Kodiak bear? They're so well fed, they just don't care about people most of the time. I'd be a lot less worried about big guys like the one in the picture and a lot more worried about:

--Brownie sows with cubs, esp. THIN LOOKING sows with cubs

--Black bears that have no apparent fear of humans.

--Barren ground griz with hungry eyes

--Young brownies (two years old or so) that want to "play" with you

If a monster boar over 800 lbs. wants to kill you, there's basically nothing you can do to prevent it. When his blood is up it takes multiple hits from a magnum rifle to stop him, and if he's trying to kill you he's not going to give you a chance to get the shots off. One swipe is enough to pick up a man and perforate his heart and lungs. Thankfully, unlike tigers, they don't turn into man eaters. Unless you run into a kill site, you shouldn't worry too much about defending against the big boys.

Anyway, your nose and your ears are the best defense against bears. That's why I dislike the bells.:D

June 24, 2003, 01:33 PM
up here everyone has a bear tale to tell. but i have a difficult time determining what is real accounts and which are exaggerated. example, a cab driver was telling my boss and i of his cabin a few miles outside of seward where he has a gold mining claim. he says the bears are so used to him they wander in and out of his cabin and are as harmless as dogs.

yeaaaaaah, real believable.

an uncle used to talk of his getting chased up a tree by a bear. he was a drunk though, so that might never have happened. could have been a fox that treed him for all we know.

June 24, 2003, 02:08 PM
I was reading in G&A or some magazine like that and it sait a full caliber is sufficient. .38, .357 mag, .44 mag, 9mm, stuff like that. If I were you I'd pack a one of these (http://www.smith-wesson.com/products/firearms/pc/m500h.htm), or for something a little smaller like this (http://www.smith-wesson.com/products/firearms/pc/m629stea.htm).

June 24, 2003, 02:21 PM
a shiny nickel says that G&A is referring to teh pansy bears found across the rest of the continental USA. the ones that get to *maybe* 300 lbs.

however, it probably isnt impossible for lower calibers to kill a bear, but i wouldnt trust my life to a .38 or 9mm. heck, a .45 isnt even all that comforting.

June 24, 2003, 02:36 PM
I read a similar article in a gun rag yesterday. It said that about the minimum you want for a "pansy bear" is a .357 with about a 180 grain FMJ traveling at 1300fps. Dump them all right between his eyes and run like &^%$.

June 24, 2003, 03:06 PM
In some eastern European country (Slovenia?) you need at least a .300 Win Mag to be allowed to hunt. This will send the brownies down here packing, but in Alaska, I'd probably change that to a .338 Lapua Magnum.

June 24, 2003, 03:17 PM
Take whatever you feel good with at close range, and be prepared to use it in a hurry or not at all. A massive scoped magnum hunting rifle that weighs 10 lbs doesn't seem to useful for the trail.

June 24, 2003, 09:59 PM
I live in black bear country and see them frequently. I feel comfortable with a .41 or .44mag.. I usually hike with one of my .41s because I happen to be a fan of that caliber.

June 24, 2003, 10:55 PM
hand gernades
lots of hand gernades


June 25, 2003, 01:11 AM
44mag absolute minimum, and that will seem like a 22lr against a brownie. Use Garrett Cartridges (or similar) hardcast loads...and get 'em HOT!

Marlin 45-70 is MUCH better... (still use hardcast loads like Garrett or BuffaloBore...)

June 25, 2003, 02:12 AM
How about a GE Minigun? M2HB? RPG-7?:D

Double Maduro
June 25, 2003, 05:40 PM
According to Alaska fish and game, there has NEVER been a sucsesful defense against a grizzly attack with a hand gun.

They said that yes, sometimes the bear dies from it's wounds but NEVER fast enough to help the shooter.

June 25, 2003, 05:55 PM
I believe in the SFG theory of self-preservation in bear confrontations.

(What is SFG you ask? Slow Fat Guy = make sure you are hunting with at least one SFG you are sure you can out run. That way, you don't have to out run the bear, just him!)

June 25, 2003, 06:24 PM
Web posted Monday, August 19, 2002
Man shoots grizzly at Russian River

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A fisherman shot and killed a sow grizzly as she charged him in the early morning darkness Saturday on the banks of the Russian River.

The encounter was the latest of several close calls between people and bears along Southcentral rivers and streams this summer. The Russian is thick with spawned-out sockeye that draw bears.

The grizzly surprised Garen Brenner and two friends about 2:30 a.m. as they packed up their gear at one of the Kenai Peninsula's most popular fishing spots, said Larry Lewis, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife technician.

Brenner heard his friend yell ''Bear! Bear!'' and looked downriver to see the sow a few yards down the bank. The bear lost interest in Brenner's friend after he backed into the water and threw his shotgun at the animal.

But then the bear turned, looked up at Brenner and lunged, said Lewis, who interviewed the three men Saturday.

Brenner fired twice at the center of the hulking shape closing to four or five feet away. The sow, estimated at 400 to 450 pounds, went down. Brenner then put three more bullets into her head.

He used a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol. Lewis said such a low-caliber gun ordinarily doesn't pack enough punch to kill a bear. But Brenner loaded the pistol with full-metal-jacket bullets that penetrated to the bear's vital organs, he said.

The bear most likely was protecting her yearling cub, which waited well behind her above the steep bank, wildlife officials said.

After the shooting, the cub ran up and down the bank near its mother's body, bawling in distress. ''It would stop and smell the bear, the sow, and then it would go into the water a ways, then it would come back,'' said Bill Shuster, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Lewis later tranquilized the cub, tagged and collared it and moved the bear to the south side of Skilak Lake.

Authorities are looking into whether the dead bear is the same sow that attacked a Soldotna mother and son hiking Resurrection Pass Trail on Friday afternoon about three miles from Cooper Landing.

That bear, also accompanied by a cub, raked the woman's face with her claws and bit the son.

see also:

June 25, 2003, 06:33 PM
on that russian river bear from last summer, turns out the bears shoulder was shattered from one or more of hte bullets. it was pure luck that the bear went down.

also, Garens brother had a sks rifle that was also used to shoot the bear. a total of 7 rounds were fired. those three are friends of mine.

June 25, 2003, 07:06 PM
My bet is a handgun throwing a hardcast or solid bullet of sufficient BC could penetrate through to the brain, but that's a hard target to hit. If I HAD to use a handgun, I'd go with my security six loaded with 200 grain hardcast slugs. I'm most comfortable with it. My preference is to avoid the problem, and have a rifle with iron sights up and ready if I can't avoid the problem.

I still like the bit about throwing the shotgun at that bear :D

Also--keep in mind that that was a 400 pound sow, NOT a monster boar like the one in the picture. Against a boar twice or three times the size of a typical sow, I don't think a handgun would be much help at all. Thankfully those big boys almost never attack. WHen they do, you get situations like the McHugh Creek killings, where two joggers were killed in as many seconds by a boar defending a fresh kill. One died instantly from a broken back, the other died from a claw wound that punctured the sack around his heart. Neither were mauled at all. THAT'S how powerful the boars are.

June 25, 2003, 07:10 PM
What is SFG you ask? Slow Fat Guy = make sure you are hunting with at least one SFG you are sure you can out run. That way, you don't have to out run the bear, just him!

Then again, the HPOSFG defense works fine...

SFG shoots the Hunting Partner of Slow Fat Guy in the leg, and the SFG becomes the winner of the interminable dash to the truck/tree/cave by default.

An SFG. With an attitude.
And since I like my huntin' buds, I'm building a .458 for bear...

June 25, 2003, 07:27 PM
In other words, arm for the bears that are most likely to attack--overly familiar black bears and sows. The big guys probably won't attack, and if they do you're finished. Wounding an 800 lb bear with a handgun is just going to make him very, very angry with you.

June 25, 2003, 07:32 PM
Not any grizzlies on my dock, so I've no clue...but what would be wrong with a 12 gauge pumpgun with a 20 inch barrel and seven rifled slugs?

Got an old Model 12 that would qualify...

Baba Louie
June 25, 2003, 08:11 PM
I've read about big bears being able to cover ground at 30 - 35 mph. If true that works out to what, 40 - 50 ft per second? Lets say you spot them at 50 yds (150 ft)... so you've got 3 - 4 seconds or so to react before bear meets ya face to face. Maybe 5 seconds. Take 1 1/2 second to figure things out...

Plenty of time to shuck 5 - 7 shells from a 12 ga... maybe... if its already mounted to shoulder and you don't get weak knee'd or excited.

I'd prefer seeing bears from afar using glass, if I had my druthers. But thats just me.


June 26, 2003, 03:56 AM
The bear lost interest in Brenner's friend after he backed into the water and threw his shotgun at the animal.

Thats funny!! So does anyone think slugs would do the trick?

Ala Dan
June 26, 2003, 08:03 AM
Greeting's All-

I think if I were bear hunting in the great state of
Alaska, my two choices of weaponary would be a
Ruger model 77-R in .338 Winchester magnum for
the rifle; and a Smith & Wesson 5" barrel 629-5
"Classic" .44 magnum, for the handgun.:D :uhoh:

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

June 26, 2003, 09:56 AM
Up here everyone has a bear tale to tell.

I end up with a new tale just about everynight. (Mebbe I should start a thread on this theme) For some reason the brown bears have a propensity for coming into town. Most likely reason is foraging in the dumpsters and city dump between the time they come out of the dens until salmon start running in the streams. I had to deal with one yesterday morning and this morning there was a bear call including one I found digging in a dumpster.
About four nights ago another officer and myself went out purposely to get a survey of the actual number of bears wandering around here in the night (there are about 13 we observed 5). The second bear that came up to the place where we were watching came up to my passenger window (company car is a Crown Vic) he started licking and sniffing around the window leaving slobbers on the glass. I can assure you that his head filled up the window and all that I could really see was nose, tongue, teeth and beady eyes. I had my shotgun laying across my lap. Just as soon as he came up to the window I snicked off the safety and raised the barrel to his head level (first round on the launch pad is a Breneke slug). When his curiosity ended he just turned around and ambled away. BTW he couldn't see me sitting in the vehicle.
Some observations I made were that the younger bears have less fear of people than the older bears and are more likely to be a problem. All of the older ones seem to give humans and human habitation a wide berth when passing through an area. The bears we observed were circling and checking (the dumpster) what they think is a food source. None that we observed appeared to exhibit aggressive/roguish behavior or attempted to be destructive. If anything they seemed to be bored. Exiting the vehicle caused all but the youngest ones to run.
If you know you are going to be hiking in a known bear area, a shotgun loaded with slugs should be the minimum you should be carrying.
Sometimes circumstances prohibit or inhibit carrying a long arm and of course a revolver is going to be more convenient and more likely to be on your person when needed. If you have to carry a revolver, a .44 should be the minimum caliber and should be loaded with the heaviest hard cast lead loads you can handle. My personal rule is that it should maim on one end and kill on the other. :evil:

June 26, 2003, 04:23 PM
I will NOT post the referenced picture of what's left of the nature buff with the .38

Since the story turned out to be B.S. I guess it's okay to
post that picture now.:rolleyes:

June 27, 2003, 12:01 PM
The picture of the victim is real enough. It just happens to be a picture of the victim of an entirely different bear, in Canada. It's been going around the Internet associated with the set up picture of the Hinchinbrook bear.

Brown bear victms are usually a pretty gruesome sight. Browns "pop" the head of prey as the killing stroke.

June 27, 2003, 01:10 PM
454 casull, 4 3/4" tube, magnaported, hard cast lead flatnose.

Shot placement

Thats all folks


June 27, 2003, 03:53 PM
Closest I've come to a bear in the pic attached.

Pic was taken in Glacier National Park, near Canadian border trailhead on the way to Cosley Lake, 1999.

I wanna go back sometime when I dredge up a new camping buddy. But we saw ~5 bears in one day ....

June 27, 2003, 04:15 PM
I will NOT post the referenced picture of what's left of the nature buff with the .38

If our esteemed website moderators don't want us to swear, they certainly don't want me to post this picture. Also, I've already deleted it.

February 16, 2010, 01:46 PM
I'm going to give this a bump. I was contacted by an Alaskan Ranger because of a statement made about the guy with his legs gone. I said in that thread it was determined it was a tiger attack from India. This is not THR I thought at the time we had conclusive proof but I can't find it. Interesting, never thought we may be diagnosing an open case.

I want to thank Cos for his help on this.

He may be a member (Ranger) of this site he won't say. But he is well versed on this and Treadwell. On this thread I talked about the tiger attack and Treadwells stupidity. The have Treadwell gropies on that site. So I'm still stopping the bleeding with superglue.

One point was about eating. He says he has seen this before, but not often.

But they, and I'm talking all the major organizations in the state also notices the vegetation they concurred but said their is some in the north west. I told him the grass was noted as elephant the only clear vegetation in the pic.
Currently it is closed out on a man killed in 1998 by a brown bear. The Feds do not believe it.
I hate to say this but I came near take care of it. But damn wouldn't be great to knock this out when some of our best coudn't.

Anybody have any memory about this.

Did I tell you I had my a$$ tore up over treadwelll cracks? All I said was I saw a program where his statements were this. Id die for these Alpha Males. ...... "I'm trying not to laugh" Few years later was AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! Get A STICK! GET A STICK.. Thus getting his grifriend one of most possibly worst
deaths ever imagine.


February 16, 2010, 02:52 PM
So based on general consensus here, I should start carrying my 12 gauge 870 /w 7 round extended tube, with all slugs or 3 slugs + 4 buck? I live in NW montana. I'm about to buy a glock 20 10mm, but is there really a point?

February 16, 2010, 03:18 PM
You have to use silver slugs to. According to most bear threads its pointless to resist the mighty brown bear. Just take your revolver and and shoot youself its quicker that way. Why did the guy throw the shotgun at the bear ? I hope it was empty. I think I would still have used it for a club. If it bleeds it can be killed. A heavy 44 between the eyes will do it every time.
Double Madaro Ive seen footage of a game warden releasing a grizzly ,bear turns on him while he is on trap in truck. He kills bear with 357 5 shots I believe. [looking for reference]They are not dragons.

February 16, 2010, 03:37 PM
I didn't get anything coherent from your post

February 16, 2010, 03:48 PM

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