.357 against bears


May 20, 2008, 06:56 PM
.357's have proved themselves againts many creatures. How would it do against a bear? Would i be wasting my time if i were to shoot an attacking bear with a .357. I understand bears can be killed with .22's but my question is how reliably would approx. 4 shots to a bears body "stop" it?

If you enjoyed reading about ".357 against bears" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
May 20, 2008, 07:20 PM
by asking :
"4 shots to a bears body "stop" it?"

If it's in his ass....... NO... if it's in his mouth, probaby...... if it's in his heart.. YES.... There is no caliber that will work effectively if the shot placement is not in the "kill range". Bullet choice will always be contested, as will placement. If you're going into "bear country" and are suspicious of an encounter.... take a gun that will make you feel safe!...... or don't go.

May 20, 2008, 07:21 PM
If you're talking about black bears then the .357 should do the job if loaded with 158, 180, or 200 gr bullets) but your chances of being attacked by a black bear are about the same as you discovering a diamond mine while out on a hike. Attacks are so rare they are not even worth worrying about. I'd be more concerned with running into rabid racoons and coyotes and the .357 will take care of them just fine.

May 20, 2008, 07:44 PM
I carry 100% of the time when hiking/camping mainly for 2 legged crazies and not 4 legged critters! I carry a .357 with either 158gr SP's or 180gr hard cast flat points. both loading are probably only marginal for black bears. If I was in grizz country, 45 colt +P's and a ruger blackhawk would be my minimum!

May 20, 2008, 07:46 PM
Who knows. Brown bear have been stopped with 9x19's and in other cases seem to ignore having their entire heart shot out with a magnum rifle. There are no guarantees. As a backup gun it's better than nothing and easy to tote. But if you're up here use a long gun first and foremost.

I'd go with 180 or 200 grain hardcasts for maximum penetration of course.

May 20, 2008, 07:49 PM
black bear attacks are far more common than brown, grizzly, panda, teddy, and kodiak bear attacks. most of the outfitters in PA, and ME recommend the .357 as good medicine for bears or bad for bears depending on your point of view or the bear's. bottom line .357 will work on east coast blackies which are typically under 400#.

Standing Wolf
May 20, 2008, 07:50 PM
...my question is how reliably would approx. 4 shots to a bears body "stop" it?

Beats the socks off a sharp stick.

Personally, I carry a .44 magnum in bear country.

May 20, 2008, 07:55 PM
Better than nothing. And loading with 180gr or 200gr hardcast is thoughtful and prudent. Double Tap has an offering in each size at very affordable (by modern measure). Buffalo Bore and Grizzly Ammo also seem to be used by many.

Having got close to a very big black last year, and had a few maulings in our area last summer, I "up-gunned" to a .44 for this purpose - I use it in serious bear country. Probably unnecessary, but it was a reason to get a very cool revolver. Sometimes I find myself toting a .357 with the above load, though, if I'm not out in the "far" wilds.

May 20, 2008, 08:13 PM
The place to shoot any bear, if you can, is the nose. If you aim at the eyes, or in betwixt the eyes, a bullet can richochet off the bear's thick frontal cranium. And though the brain appears to be where they eyes would be, I've had a lot of outdoors people tell me that shooting for the nose is your best bet.

I'd have to disagree about the chances of being attacked are the same as finding a diamond mine. Actually, attacks by black bears are on the rise. I've heard of a number of people being attacked by black bears and being mauled and killed, but no one that's found a diamond mine.

Just last year in Ely, Minnesota, Nick Ruberto wandered into the woods to relieve himself. The following morning, his friends found his mauled remains 60 yards from the cabin. The black bear was later captured and killed by the Minnesota DNR.

The trick is finding a good heavy bullet that can burrow in and not expand too fast. Your heavier bullets would fit that bill well.

May 20, 2008, 09:36 PM
Effective against a small bear is a strong "maybe".

It is better than wagging a finger but obviously not as good as, say, a 454 Casull.

I do not yet own a 44 magnum (or larger). I carry a .357 when I am on the trail.

The bottom line is that the trail is just like carrying anywhere. You should carry as much gun as you can shoot well.

May 20, 2008, 11:01 PM

Point blank, but it did the job.

On the otherhand, I recall reading an older outdoor life or field and stream about handgun hunting for black bears and it basically recommended nothing smaller than a .41 mag...I'll see if I can find that article again.

May 20, 2008, 11:25 PM
On the otherhand, I recall reading an older outdoor life or field and stream about handgun hunting for black bears and it basically recommended nothing smaller than a .41 mag...I'll see if I can find that article again.

Yes, I've read that, too, and the CW about handgun hunting for bears is a .44mag, with a .41 mag acceptable if you must. This was the "wisdom" I listened for selecting a .44mag as my baseline gun. But, this is HUNTING, not a SD scenario - and one shot kills and ethics apply. The idea is to take the bruin down at a distance, with one shot, and that is where they draw the .4x magnum baseline. I took advice from hunters and guides - one Maine, one Montana, one Alaska, and then one local (Washington). All were uniform about .44 magnum being the minimum they carried or in the case of guides, allowed clients to carry. There was some wriggle room about using a .41, and of course the Alaska guys preferred even more (.454, .460, .500) given their larger sized population. Even in WA, we have a large variation in bear size based on the different climates east/west - with the coastal ones getting much larger because of a richer, more varied diet.

I think that for SD, in an up-close situation, a 4" .357 with "bear" loads like from Double Tap is going to work as Chili's photos showed. Mainly, it would give me enough peace of mind that I could feel I wasn't undergunned (like with a .40, 9, or .45acp) and actually make me worry. Just having the peace of mind you stand a chance to protect yourself, your livestock, and party members is enough to let you let the worry go and then enjoy the trip.

It's not like these bears are hard to find - the park in Redmond, WA (home of microsoft and a 100,000 people or so) where we ride horses weekly has a population of three bears. This is a few miles from downtown Seattle, not the wilderness. I go there weekly and have for the last two years, but never seen them. But I have come across others on weekend rides - but never a confrontation.

May 21, 2008, 12:59 AM
I'd say .357 is enough to carry, depending on the circumstances. Talk to the fish & game office in the area you plan on carrying to see what the bear population is. If bears are uncommon and browns are non-existant, .357 is plenty. If all you have to worry about are 2-legged creatures, wild dogs, cougars and the like, even .38+p would be enough.

If there are lots of blackbears in the area, .44 would be sufficient while .357 would be pushing it. With lots of browns, something bigger is called for.

May 21, 2008, 05:21 AM
It's better than a sharp stick!:rolleyes:

May 21, 2008, 08:43 AM
I normally carry a .357 in New Mexico. It'll kill ANYTHING in that part of the world quite efficiently with a well placed shot or three. I've killed hog and deer with it, not a problem. I like a 4" medium frame gun because it's light on the hip and powerful and accurate. It can hunt small game or large if needed and is an effective gun in a gun fight with drug growers or such, though I'd rather have a rifle in that instance, but a .357 can reach out there if you know how. Heck, I can hit a 12" gong at 100 yards consistently with my snubby .38! the .357 is a natural by comparison, much flatter shooting. Unless you're one of the five people that live in Alaska, the .357 magnum is all you'll ever need in the woods. Truth be told, you probably won't need THAT. I've gone hikin' with nothing more than a .22 kit gun. I mean, rabbit for camp meat is a nice change from Dinty Moore beef stew. :D But, my medium frame. 357 is very accurate with .38 wadcutter loads. The beauty of the medium frame 4" .357 is its ease of carry and versatility afield. Neigh on perfection IMHO.

May 21, 2008, 09:03 AM
I carry 158 grain .357's in a 4" wheel gun when in the mountains. Only bear I'd come across in my area is black. Haven't had to fend one off yet but if I do, and the 158's work, I'll be sure to post about it.

If they don't work you'll probably hear about it in the news lol

May 21, 2008, 09:09 AM
If you do shoot a bear with a .357, be prepared to dance around a tree for a while until it dies.

You could get a lucky shot that kills it quickly but I wouldn't bet my life on it, and that kind of bet is exactly what we're talking about.

Like other's have mentioned, brown bear are a whole different ballgame. Rifle calibers such as .338 Win are usually recommended for hunting them, and the .357 doesn't come even remotely close to that.

180 gr @ 1145 for the .357


225gr @ 2780 for the .338

You can see there is a very serious performance gap between what is recommended for killing bear, and what has been suggested here.

Another factor is hunting vs defense against bears. Hunting is usually done at a distance of relative safety. Defense is you trying to kill a bear while it's eating you.

May 21, 2008, 10:01 AM
My 180s push 1400 fps from a 6.5" barrel. I ain't skird of no black bear. Heck, Davy killed one when he was only 3 years old! :D

Seriously, black bear are not armor plated. If you HAVE to shoot one, a miss with a .44 ain't gonna work, either. Some Alaskan type says that often .357 is preferred in Alaska figurin' you're going to have to hit the head with ANY handgun caliber on a big brown and the .357 is easier to hit with for most shooters. Makes sense to me. A head shot is all that is going to stop one of those things if you have less than a 155mm, from what most tell me that have never been to Alaska. LOL! I reckon that if I ever went, I own a 12 gauge. My side by side is pretty light, easy to tote, fast to the shoulder, pretty accurate with foster slugs, and if you ain't hit him in two shots, you'll be bear scat in two hours anyway.

Many a big bear has been killed by the inuit and other outdoor types in Alaska with the good ol' .30-30. Ain't the arrow, it's the Indian. I even read about two Indian girls out with a .22 rifle that killed what at the time was Canada's record book black bear with one shot to the head at about 15 feet. Hit the head and the fight is over. On a 1500 lb bear, even a .460 is weak and a head shot is the only sure stop.

I, frankly, worry more about getting struck by lightening than being attacked by a black bear. :rolleyes: I mean, put this into the risk management perspective. I've crashed motorcycles at over 100 mph, intentionally been on bikes at over 170 mph on an asphalt road course, ride on the street (far more dangerous than racing) even! I've wade fished amongst sting ray and shark, hunted teal with the gators, and GOT MARRIED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE! You think I'm worried about a bear?! :rolleyes: :D

May 21, 2008, 10:49 AM

I can always count on you for a good laugh when my day is going downhill. I still plan to get by and buy you a cup of coffee while we talk guns. Or I might just hollar at ya and have you meet me at the Bay Area gun range during lunch one day. I'll bring a couple of burgers, you bring the targets.


May 21, 2008, 12:04 PM
I'm a javahaulic. :D Ready for a range trip about any time, too.

May 21, 2008, 12:49 PM
Bear like to open their mouth. Get real good with your 357 and when he attacks, he will probably have his mouth open, if not he will open it soon. Try to hit the back of his mouth. Can't stand many 357's there.

Ala Dan
May 21, 2008, 12:59 PM
I rely on the .357 magnum as MY "magnum choice" of revolver caliber's~! :scrutiny:
I have trained with them extensively; but I would say against a bear attack,
shot placement would become paramount~! ;)

As has been stated previously, NO handgun caliber is a sure-one shot
stop guarantee against an attacking bear of any type~! :eek:

Sato Ord
May 21, 2008, 01:53 PM
I know, or used to know, several park rangers and game wardens who carry .357s. They swear it's enough to stop a grizzly. Like I said, I used to know them. I haven't seen any of them since I moved back east: they may have gotten eaten by a bears by now.

In grizzly country I always carried my Redhawk with hot handloads that I got from a gunsmith friend who also sold reloads.

However, I wouldn't balk at carrying a Blackhawk or Vaquero in .45 LC either. I've seen what that caliber can do, and I'm impressed.

All of that being said, I have also been taking another good long look at the .41 magnum. It's a great all around caliber. Powerful enough to stop just about anything in North America (shot placement is always important), but powered down from the .44 enough that it will leave you enough of a smaller game animal to eat if the need arises. The accuracy is nice too.

There, once again I have proven that some of my ancestry is French by arguing with myself.

Oh the heck with it, be Celtic, get one of each! There's no such thing as being too well armed.:D

May 21, 2008, 02:08 PM
I posted this in a "wilderness gun" thread, but this is probably a better place for it:

Several years ago I took a camping/exploring trip on my 650 KLR up near the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. I enjoy motorcycle camping as I can navigate poorly maintained Forest Service roads easily and have some fun doing it. It also gets me into places where other people are scarce.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, I found a fairly nice dispersed camp, that had obviously been used by deer hunters in that there was a rock fire pit and some wood rounds for seats. It was just getting dark and I had just started warming a can of chili for dinner when a very large black bear just walked up to my camp.

I was carrying a Ruger MKII and I got it out and my camera as well. The bear just came up and begin to circle me. This went on for a few minutes so I decided, enough of this and fired a shot just behind him to scare him off. It did not scare him a bit, he just looked at me with annoyance. I knew there was no way I was going to actually shoot the bear with my little .22 pistol, so we played a game for about 10-15 minutes. He would circle around my camp and I would fire just behind him to spook him away. He finally wandered off a bit and sat down to watch me as it got dark. I had fired 20 rounds or so.

I built up the fire, ate dinner and set up my small tent. The thing about motorcycle camping is that in situations like this, there is not place to retreat to, such as a camper or car. I guess one could go set on the bike or break camp and drive off, but I was too tired and determined to stay put.

I got very little sleep that night as I could hear the bear roaming about still circling my camp. That little MKII was little comfort to me, but I kept it nearby. I would get up periodically and stoke up the fire, and could hear the bear, pacing about in the dark. At first light, I broke camp and moved on. The bear was no where in sight.

In thinking about it later, I figured this bear owned that campsite and must have heard my engine noise so he came in thinking of getting some easy human food. I do not think he expected the shooting and it put him off, so he circled and waited. I am certain he would have came in and ripped in to my gear if not for the gun. I do not think he would have harmed me, unless I got between him and his goal, the food.

BTW, these days, I carry a 3" M29 in my tank bag when I go exploring in the deep woods. I sure sleep better with it next to my makeshift pillow.

May 21, 2008, 02:12 PM
DMZ -- a friend of mine had a similar experience with a black bear last year. His only weapon was a .22 pistol. For some reason, he went out and bought a 12 guage after that...

May 21, 2008, 02:17 PM
sixgunner' - I think what bothered me the most was not the bear's "no fear of humans" behavior, it was the uncertainty of the whole incident and the feeling that I had little, if any, control over it. It was a deep, primal fear of helplessness that I never forgot.

May 21, 2008, 02:39 PM
If a 357 Mag is all you have, it will have to do, but me my 45 Colt, or my 2 1/2 in 454 casull or my 4 inch 500 Mag would be my gun of choice.

May 21, 2008, 02:52 PM
The biggest variable in this never-ending "Is this ((name caliber here)) enough for bear?" is this-the "state" of the bear. In other words, taken by surprize with a well-placed shot or two, many calibers/loads will "work". To stop a foaming-at-the-mouth, adrenaline-stoked bruin, good luck with any handgun (Just as a terrified, adrenaline-soaked deer can absorb tremendous punishment and keep going, while a "shot out of the blue" will stop it in its tracks). While hunting black bear w/ .44 mag handguns, my friends regularly wade right into a pack of dogs fighting a cornered bear and let loose with full cylinders of high-powered loads at point-blank range, often requiring a repeat trip into the foray before the "distracted" bear begins to realize he may be dead. Now, if that bear's attention is focused on YOU instead... Not saying it can't be done but you better know if you truly fear a deadly bear attack you will be under-armed with a handgun, period. Brown bears that have been killed after attacking humans, have been found with multiple close-range revolver rounds that failed to make it through the layer of fat. There is a reason that those serious about bear protection carry hot .45-70, .450, ,375, etc rifles and/or shotguns. Better-than-nothing says it all...unless you only manage to further enrage the bear with a poorly placed shot!

May 21, 2008, 03:00 PM
IF you use the proper ammunition. A 125 JHP isn't going to give optimal penetration. Heavier 158 or even 180 grain loads should work better.
Against grizzly or Alaskan bears I'd rethink my caliber choice.

Vern Humphrey
May 21, 2008, 03:18 PM
Phil Shoemaker, who is a licensed bear guide, and lives in bear country a looooong way from the nearest town has recommended the .357 with a heavy, hard-cast bullet for bear.

His reasoning is that you have to go for a head shot, and with a .357, you may get two chances to make it before the bear reaches you.

He also points out that the most important thing about the gun is how it affects you. Your best defense is your own body language, deterring the bear by not showing fright or running. The gun can give you the confidence to pull that off.

May 21, 2008, 03:37 PM
Hmm, I bet those 20 rounds of .22 in the cranium would have discouraged that bear. :D

May 21, 2008, 04:31 PM
Hmm, I bet those 20 rounds of .22 in the cranium would have discouraged that bear.

Or had an opposite effect. Being alone and ~50 miles from any medical help, I was in no position to test any theories that night. Plus it is near impossible to operate a large motorcycle without all of one's appendages. :D

May 21, 2008, 07:43 PM
A .357 will be fine for Black Bear, I carry a .45 in the north country of Mi and I'm not the least bit worried that it won't do the job in a self defense situation. However, If your in Grizzly country, I would want something much bigger. I think I would start with .454! I fished Katmai is Alaska last summer and those creatures are big, plus there's lots of them. Saw 13 in one day.

Vern Humphrey
May 21, 2008, 07:51 PM
Phil Shoemaker says different -- his reasoning is a brain shot is needed to stop a charging grizzley with a handgun, and a .357 will give you the possibility of a second shot if the first misses.

May 21, 2008, 08:04 PM
I have never dealt with the Bear Problem - but I do know people who have, some of these guys on more than one ocassion. To a nose they have said that when you are dealing with a bear that is focused on you - completely forget about killing it. What you want to do is convince the bear that it really isn't interested in you anymore. These hunters have said that good loads in 475's and 50's, and pretty stiff loads in .44's and /.45's are more than likely what you would want.

I'm thinkin' that the .357 and the standard auto pistol cartridges might just put the critter in a deeper crankier mood than when you started.

Again - I personally don't know, but I fully trust my source of this information. It is advice I would certainly follow.


May 21, 2008, 08:07 PM
are these places you talking about state parks?dident know it was legal to carry there

May 21, 2008, 08:14 PM
I was in no position to test any theories that night. Plus it is near impossible to operate a large motorcycle without all of one's appendages.

I've ridden without a clutch quite a ways before. LIttle tough on the gear dogs, but can be done. Gotta push it, get it rolling to jam into first, though. Just stick your left hand out for an appetizer and shoot with the right. :D

May 21, 2008, 08:26 PM
I heard another story about a black bear attack this morning. Didn't catch where it happened or what happened, but I did note it.

Most times people with .357s do okay against black bears. If it's a grizzley, well, it can go either way with the bear having a slight edge. If it's a Kodiak, just make sure you shoot yourself with the first shot!

May 21, 2008, 09:11 PM
are these places you talking about state parks?dident know it was legal to carry there

It's legal to carry in a state park if your state says so. That's the state's right to set the laws. In WA, it certainly is. It is also legal to carry in National Forests if your state allows park carry (the federal land follows state laws). It is NOT legal to carry in any National Park. That will be changing soon as the DOI is in the process of public commentary on new laws to allow National Park carry in states where the state the park is in allows park/public land carry.

I steer my off-road trips in WA towards National Forests and state parks, since I can defend myself. Once the laws are changed, then national Parks will get more of my time, too. There are grizzlies here and it's not worth the risk.

May 21, 2008, 09:16 PM
I think the 357 mag revolver with heavy solids is just fine for black bear protection. If the bear is set on eating you, you will be hard pressed to defend yourself, so you have to be real careful and respect their comfort distance if possible.

DMZ, I bet you would have felt a lot better with a 357. Like you, I more than likely would have had a 22LR with me as I like to plink with them and I'm not likely to plink with a larger caliber handgun in the woods.

If I were buying a gun specifically for black bear protection, I'd get either a 44 or 41 mag which can be handled with a bit of practice by most folks that shoot revolvers. I have a Smith Mountain Gun in 41 mag and would load it with 250 gr solids as my choice. If I had your experience, I'd probably get a larger gun just to make myself feel like I had a fighting chance. I have had one encounter that scared the p*** out of me, so I know how it feels. Big guns are heavy though.

May 21, 2008, 11:39 PM
Big guns make big holes... :)

May 22, 2008, 12:31 AM
I say yes for hunting, no for defense.

I have not killed a bear with a handgun. However, I spend a lot of time in grizzly country and I have put a lot of time into studying this subject out. In Lewis and Clark's first encounter with a grizzly, they shot the bear multiple times before it died. When they cut the bear open, they found (If my memory is right) 8 lead balls in the heart. They don't just decide to give up the fight.

I don't care if it is a grizzly, a black bear or a moose, if it is charging you have less than a second to kill it dead. This is the real issue. I could kill a bear with a stick, if I was in a cage while it attacked. Maybe the better question is, do I have time to kill a bear with a .357, while it is charging.

An angry bear runs to danger. A lot of the response you get here don't take into account the fact that an animal doesn't know what has just happened to them when they have been shot. These wounds don't feel much different that a bad flesh wound (This is an assumption). They also don't understand how a human can reach out and touch them with arrows and bullets. So, if they don't know where it came from, they run. Now, if you hurt them, and they think it was you, then everything now changes.

No matter the caliber, I say hard cast lead or equivalent. Also, I think you should confidently be able accurately shoot at least two rounds in a very short amount of time. I don't care was people say, energy matters when you are trying to crack a bear skull.

May 22, 2008, 12:40 AM
Your best defense is your own body language, deterring the bear by not showing fright or running. The gun can give you the confidence to pull that off.

Vern, this is different with blacks vs browns. With blacks you show aggression and size. With browns, if you show aggression, you better kill it quick. It has been said time and again, if you are mauled buy a grizzly/brown, take it and play dead. Fighting back or running will only encourage them.

Benelli Shooter
May 22, 2008, 09:24 AM
You stand more of a chance of being attacked by 10 naked supermodels in the woods that want your hot body than a bear.

May 22, 2008, 09:32 AM
There have been 24 fatal bear attacks in North America since 2000. This does not include the attacks survived by the human.

Please tell us Benelli, where are the naked supermodel attacks taking place. I want to move there!

May 22, 2008, 10:21 AM
The thing about a bear attack is it happens very quick, most would not be able to react. A second shot is not going to happen in a split second, you better make your first one count and make it the biggest hole you can and get the best penetration you can.

I too also want to know where those 10 naked super models are, because that is where I am booking my next bear hunt too.

May 22, 2008, 10:59 AM

Are you going bear hunting or bare hunting?

Thaddeus Jones
May 22, 2008, 11:34 AM
A 357 is more than sufficient to ward off attacks by naked super models.

Personally, I would advise against shooting at them, as it may discourage their attack. Instead, take the mauling :) . TJ

May 22, 2008, 12:26 PM
In the late 1970's I worked as a seasonal for the North Cascades National Park. One of my responsibilities was to drive a shuttle van through the park to take hikers to trailheads and campgrounds. The park had several campgrounds that black bears visited every so often so we had installed ropes and pulleys for people to pull their gear up to a cable, ~15 high, that was strung between a couple of trees (this was before the bear proof steel conex's the NPS now uses in "bear" parks.

One day I was loading back packs into the overhead rack of my shuttle when I 40ish guy hands me his pack and wants me to wrap it in a blanket so it would not get ripped or snagged by the rack. Now judging from his pack and his dress he looked like the had walked into a REI and told them to sell him everything he needed to go hiking and camping in the back country.

I told him that in all the time I had been shuttling people and gear into the park, I had never damaged a pack. But he got nasty and said he would sue the park if his pack got tore, so I sent for a horse blanket from the tack room and wrapped his $250 North Face pack so as not to tear it. It made me late and torqued me off a bit. :rolleyes:

So anyway, I dropped this guy off at the end of the 28 mile dirt/rock road, at a campground that we had a problem bear. I gave everyone the mandatory talk on bear safety, food prep and the need to secure their packs in the air before they turned in for the night. I always emphasized that you should never take your pack or any food item into your tent. With that, I left. :D

The next day, I made the morning run up the valley and everything seemed fine at all the campgrounds along the way. I got to the end of the road and saw the guy with the "pack" sitting at a picnic table eating a small can of beanyweenie with his fingers. The first thing he said to me was that he spent the night in the small outdoor toilet. The second thing he said was that he was going to sue the park. :cuss:

Upon further conversation, it seems that he had disregarded my firm instructions and taken his pack into his tent for the night, After dark a very large brown bear had came into his tent, through the huge rent one swipe of a paw had made and came in for the goodies. :what: The guy retreated to the toilet and watched as the bear tore his tent to shreds. It took his pack in mouth and walked up into the woods, leaving only a can of beenieweeie behind. I found his shredded pack and mangled frame about 200' away and brought it down to him to snatch out of my hands. Ok. The entire trip back to park headquarters he was silent, which was worked for me and the riders I picked up. I pointed him to the head Rangers office when we arrived.

A few days later, we tranquilized that bear with a 180 softpoint and relocated him to the park landfill to put in a deep hole that the maintenance guy had dug with a backhoe :D

May 22, 2008, 12:57 PM
.357 against Black Bear = fine

.357 against Gizz... = I would only do so if I had nothing else and I would try to make sure I had something else. Certainly wouldn't recommend it.

Every rule has some exceptions, but don't let the exceptions get you killed.

May 22, 2008, 01:20 PM
Hopefully, none of us will ever be forced to kill one of these wonderful animals.

May 22, 2008, 01:39 PM
Oh, I don't know, I'd love to do a handgun hunt for black bear up in Maine or somewhere. A bear skin rug would be kinda a neat conversation piece, though I'm not sure I could stomach the meat from what I've been told. I ain't immune to killin' animals, it's what hunters do. In fact, I quite enjoy it. :D There's more to hunting than the killin', but I do not delude myself that I do it for entirely other reasons. Killin' is part of it, a good, clean, quick kill.

May 22, 2008, 01:48 PM
I was thinkin' about DMZ and his KLR earlier and thinkin' to myself, "I wonder what'd happen if I jumped on the bike and wheelied/charged the bear with it. I'm wonderin' if he'd have been intimidated. If not, you could just hop off the back, slide to a stop while the bike hit the bear, yanked your .22 and started shooting.

Well, dumb idea, but it just popped into my head. LOL!

May 22, 2008, 02:19 PM
Many folks say that bear is tasty.

Bears seem to have the same opinion of us.

May 22, 2008, 02:25 PM
someone should start a thread about the ten "bare" supermodels in the woods and post pictures...just so everyone know what to be on the lookout for :D

May 22, 2008, 03:00 PM
Last year, between my buddy and myself, we got 3 whitetails, a Moose and 1 bear. The moose and the bear are what we prefer to eat.

We are very careful with meat, as far as cleanliness and cooling the meat. The bear was shot at 5 in the afternoon. We tracked, cleaned, skinned, deboned and put in the fridge by morning. We dry aged the bear for 6 days. Very tasty!

For those that don't believe in aging, we put away one of the hind quarters of the moose after 6 days, and the rest after 15 days. Again, cooling as fast as possible and keeping the meat under 40 degrees. Every one who says they don't like game prefers the roasts and steaks cut from the 15 day aged meat. I am a firm believer that how you care for the meat is the main factor in how good it is.

Back to the subject, Benelli, maybe you should walk around bear country bare; no preparation or defense. :rolleyes:

May 22, 2008, 03:15 PM
I was thinkin' about DMZ and his KLR earlier and thinkin' to myself, "I wonder what'd happen if I jumped on the bike and wheelied/charged the bear with it. I'm wonderin' if he'd have been intimidated. If not, you could just hop off the back, slide to a stop while the bike hit the bear, yanked your .22 and started shooting.

Well, dumb idea, but it just popped into my head. LOL! - MCgunner

MC', that reminds me of another bear story.

I worked a season for the concessionar at the North Cascades NP. He ran a restaurant and rented cabins and such. This other guy and myself were his maintenance crew.

Our final job of the day was to take the garbage from the restaurant up to the local landfill (dump) to dispose of it. We would fill up an old Datsun pickup with the bags around 9:30 PM each night and take it up and throw it out.

Now there was a crew of bears at that dump, regulars, that would wait for us at the access road and chase the little Datsun up the road not unlike a pack of dogs. After backing in we would climb out of the cab, jump in the back of the truck and sling the garbage bags out. The bears would grunt and fart and fight over the bags looking for the coffee cans of grease from the grills grease trap. There was never any problems.

There was one big red cinnamon bear that was kind of the bully of the bunch and would swat the smaller ones about, once the grease bucket was found. One night he decided not to wait until we threw the bags out, and attempted to climb in the back of the truck and get the best stuff himself. We both went over the roof of the cab and jumped back into the truck, closing the doors and rolling up the windows. He was about to get out of the back of the truck, so I started it up and put it in gear. I jerked the truck forward and he jumped out with a bag in his mouth.

So he sat there digging through his treasure bag where we normally parked. I turned the truck around and came forward and bumped him with the front bumper of the truck. He didn't move, as he had found the grease can. I backed up again and came forward, smacking him pretty hard in the back side. H finally moved off a big with the coffee of grease can clamp in his jaw. We backed back in and finished tossing the garbage and took off.

In the future we had the waitresses at the restaurant set aside the empty, large magnum wine bottles for us. We would use them a primitive, hand thrown projectiles if old cinnamon red decided to climb into the bed of the truck again. One night he did and got whacked by two of them. He took off at a full sprint and was at the other side of the landfill (about 50 yards away) in about 3 seconds. He sat over there pouting for a while, and then worked his way back when we left. I learned how fast bears can move that night.

True story. :D

May 22, 2008, 03:36 PM
If anyone has to shoot one, I can honestly say, that the bear meat I had once, was extremely tasty and tender. I am not a big fan of game meat, for no good reason. :banghead:

May 22, 2008, 03:37 PM

Are you going bear hunting or bare hunting?

Either one would make me happy...lol

May 22, 2008, 03:40 PM
Hunt nakkid. Good motto. :D Might get away with it in south Texas, but I can't see skippin' through the snow on a 15 degree New Mexico November morning that way. :eek: Could turn your grapes to raisins pretty quick. In south Texas, I would wear my snake boots, though, but might need a third one, kevlar cover of some kind. I mean, I've heard of 'em biting knee high before. :D

May 22, 2008, 04:15 PM
I have 2 full mounts of black bear and one 400 ponder in a rug.
I am going back to Maine for my 5th hunt for black bear.

My buddy loves bear meat, I like the summer sausage and pepperoni.

May 22, 2008, 04:40 PM
I suppose you shoot them Maine bear with a Redhawk? :D Man, I envy the chance to do that.

They don't allow baiting, don't think, in New Mexico, but they do chase the things with dogs. I'm gettin' too damned old to be chasin' hounds in the mountains. Sitting over a bait site seems like a better deal to me. :D Maybe I could go around to the Tex Mex restaurants around here collecting bait before I leave, I mean, if kitchen grease is the hot set up. God knows we have plenty of Tex Mex around here. :rolleyes: Do bear like jalapenos in their grease? Might be a good way to track 'em, just follow the enchilada farts.

Vern Humphrey
May 22, 2008, 04:46 PM
They don't allow baiting, don't think, in New Mexico, but they do chase the things with dogs. I'm gettin' too damned old to be chasin' hounds in the mountains. Sitting over a bait site seems like a better deal to me.

Hunting bears over bait is legal in Arkansas on private land.

May 22, 2008, 04:54 PM
Well, Arkansas is a heck of a lot closer. I've looked into the Maine hunting thing, pretty affordable except that you have to get there. Back then when gas was 99 cents a gallon and I was working, maybe.

Perhaps I'll google Arkansas bear hunts in the future. :D I could stop off in Stutgart for some ducks, too.

Vern Humphrey
May 22, 2008, 05:01 PM
We could work something out -- I have 185 acres, and have seen bears in my back yard.

May 22, 2008, 06:14 PM
Heck if you want bear a bunch of them are running around up here. Three of them just about knocked over a friend of mine a few weeks ago. A sow with two two year olds in tow, which is the worst case scenario of all ursine encounters. Thankfully they were after a stray dog and just blew right on past like a freight train.

May 22, 2008, 07:19 PM

Are you going bear hunting or bare hunting?

Either one would make me happy...lol

Hey Red,

Don't get confused. I would hate to hear that you were all scratched and beaten up...:what:looking for a supermodel to shoot.

May 22, 2008, 08:43 PM

Come on up to Maine, bring all your buddies, and shoot the 30,000 black bears running all over this state. They can be a damned nuisance! Into bird feeders, trash, sheds, and even camps and houses looking for food.

For some unknown reason, we had one around the house and in the surrounding woods roaring and growling for an hour and a half last week, from 2230 to 0000. Started to go out with appropriate equipment until my wife reminded me night hunting isn't legal...

Not being bear season, finally gave up and have a culvert trap being delivered tomorrow. Problem is, move one out, another moves in!

If the antis ever get their no-baiting law passed we'll be overrun in a real short time. They came close last time.

May 23, 2008, 08:19 PM
This type of thread comes up often enough that you can get a pretty good concensus. .357 is good enough for Defense but a poor excuse for even thinking of hunting. ALso, it just depends ALOT on the type of bear you're likely to come into contact with. I've been in that kind of situation before and I had a .357. I got lucky, VERY LUCKY, and two of my shot were head shots and killed him probably with the first of the two. They were 180gr JHP and it was a 200lb black bear in Florida. We grow'em kinda small down here.

I also learned that Bear Guard pepper spray just really makes them mad.

May 23, 2008, 08:34 PM
Is a 200 lb bear tougher than a 200 lb hog? Of course, the hog is rarely trying to eat you, though I have been charged before. A .357 to the head, one shot, ended that charge, BTW. But, he was wounded and most of his steam had been spent by that time, so I had the advantage. .357 is PLENTY of gun with the right load and a good shooter for up to a 200 lb hog with a shoulder shot, but I wouldn't push much larger than that, don't think. Works real well on 125 lb deer. We have hogs down here like you Mainers have bear, worse actually. They're about the only tough game I have to shoot down here. The deer are bambis, generally, a step up from rabbits.

If and when I finally get to make a bear hunt, I have a Blackhawk for which I load hot .45 Colts, but I'd probably go to my old standby hunting handgun, scoped.30-30 Contender with Barnes X bullets and surgical precision shot placement capability. I'm REAL confident in that pistol out to beyond 100 yards. The typical 25 to 50 yards of a baited bear, no problem.

Sato Ord
May 24, 2008, 09:46 AM
Of course, the hog is rarely trying to eat you, though I have been charged before.

Hey man, I've seen a big hog scatter two dogs intestines all over a field. Whether it's trying to eat you, or just play scatter the new toys, dead is dead.

When an animal gets on an adrenaline rush the first thing I look for is someplace safe to hide. Then I want the biggest firearm I can pack aimed and ready to fire.

Of course the advantage of hunting hogs is that they don't climb trees. That being said, they always move faster than you expect them to, even if you are used to dealing with them.

Same with bears, except they come up the tree after you.

May 24, 2008, 10:33 AM
DMZ, you have some great stories. I liked the wine bottle protection. Yes, bears run real fast when they want to.

Now that you are older, I wonder if you would act the same way in that park landfill?

May 24, 2008, 11:42 AM
DMZ, you have some great stories. I liked the wine bottle protection. Yes, bears run real fast when they want to.

Now that you are older, I wonder if you would act the same way in that park landfill?

Thanks 22', I have some additional bear tales, but I will save them for another thread. :D

When I was dinking around with dump bears back then, I was 21 YO and as a avid climber and hiker, in great shape. Now days, 34 years later......:uhoh:

May 25, 2008, 03:51 PM
I went out bowhunting elk in griz country in montana, with a .357 mag for backup, and spent a misserable night out in the woods because I didn't want to pack my heavier .44 Mag. That was in about 1980.
I have learned alot since then and since I call coyotes year round I now have a .500 SW if I am not rifled up with a Marlin .45-70. Last year I called 5 bear in and this year 2 weeks ago called a huge bear in that I really couldn't be positive that it wasn't a griz since there are some in the area. I watched a Wayne Carlton bear calling video several days ago and he was using bear spray for protection.
My advice....Use the biggest caliber you can shoot. Minimum for saftey, .454 Cosull. The bigger the caliber, the better the chance of slowing down a charging bear.
By the way I believe N. Carolina has the biggest bears on average then anywhere. Every bear shot is weighed with the guts in and some 4 yr. olds weigh up to 600 lbs. I saw this video on the outdoor chanel.
Bottem line I wouldn't go smaller then a .44 Mag with which I have killed several bears.

May 25, 2008, 04:18 PM
MCgunner, I actually use my BFR in 500 Mag, this year I my use my Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger. But I have not made my mind up yet.

I would not mind getting scratched and beaten up...looking for a supermodel. I think it would be a good story to tell the grand kids..lol

May 26, 2008, 01:40 PM
Hey Red,

I was making a reference to an old joke.

A guy from Texas moves to Alaska and he goes to the only bar in town. The bartender told "Tex" he could not drink there because he was not an Eskimo, but there is a way to become an Eskimo. What is it, inquired Tex. Well first you have to drink a gallon of red eye whiskey in one drink, then you must wrestle a polar bear, then you must “have relations” with that Eskimo woman at the end of the bar. No problem exclaims Tex. He picks up the gallon jug and downs the whiskey. He spits and curses, kicks the door and away he goes. Days go by and no word from Tex, suddenly the door bolts open and in staggers Tex all cut up and bleeding. Now where is the Eskimo woman I was supposed to wrestle?

May 26, 2008, 02:33 PM
One tough SOB I'd say. :D

May 26, 2008, 02:47 PM
That's a good one Guillermo.

May 26, 2008, 07:59 PM
I've killed two Black bears, both in California, while hunting them. One in Shasta County (250 pounds) and the other in Tulare County (400+ pounds).

The meat from both was excellent, plus the fat rendered down into pure lard was outstanding in cooking.

An incident of which I know was kinda interesting. IN 1979, three friends of mine and I had contracted with an outfitter in the high Sierra, to use his horses and mules to take us to an area on a Spot camp where we were going to hunt for deer. (Our equipment; his horses and mules.) This was at Reds Meadow Pack Station in the eastern Sierra, in the Devil's Postpile area.

At the pack station/trail head, there was a tiny cafe which sold light meals. When we arrived for our trip, they were pounding nails into a plywood cover over the window into the kitchen. A large Black bear had tried to crawl through the window into the kitchen, in the middle of the day.

The woman who was the cook, a cool person indeed!, had grabbed a .30-06 rifle standing in the corner of the kitchen and killed the Black bear which was about half way inside the window when she shot.

Proves that it never hurts to be armed while cooking cheeseburgers in the high Sierra!! ;)


If you enjoyed reading about ".357 against bears" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!