First mauling of the year

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Apr 10, 2010
Kodiak, AK
The bears are out of bed, and we have the first (reported) mauling of the year.

This happened Sunday, which was the last day of Spring bear hunting in most parts of Alaska. Few details as yet...

Alaska State Troopers are investigating a bear mauling reported Sunday east of Nome.

...Perkins, 54, is being treated in Seattle. As of 10:30 a.m. today he is out of surgery and has been placed in an induced coma, said Maryjane Sipes, Perkins' co-worker in Nome.

"His wife and kids are with him," Sipes said.
Update as of 2pm on the same link above: They were indeed bear hunting. He rode past the bear on a snowmachine and stopped about 70 feet away. The bear charged and got him. The other hunters killed it.

A brown bear can run 40 mph, so a 70 foot charge can happen in the blink of an eye.
I have no experience with bears, and it surprised me that one would charge a snowmobile.

Can't even fathom that level of fear during the charge/attack. I don't think I have the intestinal fortitude for hunting dangerous game, and I'm always impressed by those that do.

That is serious hunting when the quarry can eat you.
Nobody is "holding it against the bear." You are the one ascribing human emotions and thoughts to the bear, by claiming you would have done the same. The bear tore his face off, so I doubt you would have done that.

The outsider response to this incident is telling. It's akin to someone who has no car responding to news of a horrific car crash by saying that's what they had coming by moving so fast.
There's actually a much better account of the incident available today from the Alaska Dispatch. The actual description of the event is on page two of the story. It's pretty apparent that the victim made an unwise decision which is going to change his life forever, should he live. He just got too close.

At that point, the bear came to its feet and charged. "It attacked him in seven steps," Johnson said.

Actually, Nate said, it was more like seven bounds or strides. Stang and his son counted them later. "Seven strides and it was on him," Nate said. A running bear can cover 8- to 10-feet in a stride.
I have a couple thoughts here.......

In my experiance with the Bears around here (I hunt them onthe Northern side of The Seward penn, This happend on the southern end) is that you cannot get within 70 feet of any Bear, without it knowing full well your there.
Its against the law to "persue" animals witha snowmachine, and the second they turn to run, you must stop. You can shoot right there,(I let them calm a bit by NOT pursueing them, check out my Bear post) or you may drive and reposition yourself, though you may close with an animal that has already been shot, you may drive up to a kill........

Bears Know we hunt them, this , in my mind and observations is very true. Getting close is what a Hunter does , and they, as Hunters, know this.

Sooooooo Human emotions aside, any animal that thinks or knows its under deathly attack will defend itself, or already wounded will do things like this to the Hunter, a very well know and real danger when hunting Bears......even squirrls will claw and bite...... being Human, I would not have ripped his face off, I would have shot the attacker, its what I can do, self defence its basic Nature.......hence our Natural Human Rights to defend ourself......
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I dont like "snowmobiles either",,,,:cuss:,,,,

stupid Grizz should of chewed up the machine,,,

I hope the guy makes out OK ! he will traumatized for many years to come,

and YES, they(bears) will charge a snowmobile or an ATV !
and they(bears) need NO prior provocation in order to attack a machine!
Was in Glacier Park Montana about 20 years ago getting ready for a hike when park Ranger pulled over to talk to me. Only short entrance to Park was open at the time.

Him- where you from?
Me- NC
Him-going Hiking?
Me-Yeah, was thinking of hiking over to St Marys Lake
Him-Ever been here before?
Me-No First Time....Beautiful Place
Him-You Carrying a Firearm?
Me-(with hesitation-knowing I shouldnt be) I know I should not be - but yeah I am!
Him- What are you carrying?
Me- Beretta 92
Him- Can I see It?
Me- Yes you can - slowly retrieving it and handing it to him
Him- Cool .. Nice Pistol .. (pulls Out Magazine) Wow Hydrashoks Even!
Me-Am I in trouble?
Him-Only If you go hiking and shoot a bear with it...then you will be lunch!
Might I suggest you put this up in your truck and enjoy the sites from the road..the bears are just now waking up here and they absolutely eat the first thing they see...and although you have a nice pistol with hydrashok will only infuriate an already ...grouchy...hungry...bear!

But thats just a suggestion! And handed me back my Beretta

Me- I think that sounds good! And I enjoyed all I could see from the road or very short trails! I went back in 98 and went across the "going to sun road" and out the other end near border...seen St Marys and never ended up bear food! Glad I ran into him in my younger...nieve days!

Hate to hear about this guy and hope he recovers.
Other than boats (summer) Planes, (expensive) ans walking over two feet of crusted snow, there is no other form of transportaion here.
Nome has roads to some villages, minesites and such, but its all dirt tracks that are good 4 months of the year, the rest of the time, its snowgos.

I live a bit North in Unit 23, The northwestarctic Borough, and being larger in sq miles tha the entire state of illinois we have a grand total of 180 miles of roads, broken up among the 10 villages , that go to mining sites (local gravle) an dthe longest one is a private road from a Lead/zink mine to the port along the ocen.

Never seen a Bear attack a machine specificly, but more than one fellow has abandond their ride when the Bear (or Moose) took over the trail, jumped in the Boat (a Moose did that last year) , look in a tent, or decided to "Bluff charge" and stopped short.........lotta toilet paper and some new pants......
Moose kill far more people each yaer in Alaska than any Bears have.

If you lived here, you too would own a snowmachine.

If I lives down south in the 49 , I would own a dreaded car.......
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Caribou, I was hoping you'd chime in. The conditions up there are not anything like this part of the state. I can't imagine what he was thinking. Machine sounds like ATV's and Snowmachines or even outboards disturb bears a lot, so pulling up that close...
Were still snowed up.

Pulling up that close made the Bear decide between Fight or flight. 70 feet is 23 or so yards, my youngest Daughter would be on you in about the same time.

When ever I see Browngrizz, even when Im not hunting them, I put the rifle 'At ready' and the safety off, chamber'd round, standard procedures in my relm.
I have hunted these "fur covered garbage disposals" getting close to 40 years now, guided dozens of hunters to a successful Grizzly kill, and dispatched several of them on my own tags on top of that, they will charge a machine, given the right circumstance, it is rare, but possible, I have seen it happen on a couple of occasions, luckily we had the firepower and the incident did not end in human tragedy,

the ONE constant in bear hunting is Any THING can happen, many times it happens when you may least expect it, when it does?, seconds determine who lives and who dies,

regarding ATV"s and Snow-mobile use while hunting bears, the fact you have to be alert simply to the operation of the machine, engine noise and rough terrain can keep you focused on the ride, add the right wind conditions, the bear hasnt heard or smelled you,you can be within just yards of a bear before you realize the fact, if it is an ornery bear, you have trouble !
"the ONE constant in bear hunting is Any THING can happen, many times it happens when you may least expect it, when it does?, seconds determine who lives and who dies,"

Very true, ElkdomBC.

My reference is specificly to the attack on the 'Machine", as indeed Ive seen Moose and heard of Bears that attack People on the machines and when they have ran off, been contenued to be chased by the animal, rather than the animal stopping to attack the machine, kinda in the idea of outrunning the other guy inna bear attack.
But the outstanding rule, despite any of our experiances, is

""the ONE constant in bear hunting is Any THING can happen"" Is so very true........
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I too hope for the rapid recovery of the fallen hunter.

I appreciate hearing from the folks up North who have direct experience with bears. I always find it annoying that people post from the lower 48 that have no experience with the large bruins yet write as if they know the issues involved.

I happen to live in one of the few places in the lower 48 that has Grizzly bears (North of Yellowstone) and hike in bear country. I have no direct experience with the critters outside the park but may run into one any given year. It's good to hear directly from the voices of experience.

I did visit the "Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center" in West Yellowstone a few years ago and watched the Grizzly's for a while. I was really struck at how agile and quick the bears were. They didn't move like the ponderous creatures of film and TV. They moved like cats, agile, quick and extremely light on their feet for something so massive...these were 800-1,000lb bears.

If you've never dealt with a bear face to face...perhaps listening to those with experience might be a better way to spend your time than writing a useless response.
People forget that these are smart animals. They have individual personalities and moods. What a bear did yesterday has no bearing on what the same bear will do today, much less what two different bears will do in the same circumstances.

No doubt this gentleman had dealt with many bears in his life and just got complacent, expecting this bear to do what others bears had done before.

The analogy I always use to newbies here is the bear with a "toothache". You just don't know when a bear has a toothache or just had a fight with another bear or had somebody looking just like you put a load of buckshot in his behind last fall. These are thinking animals with moods, tempers, memories. They will all react differently to your presence, and the same animals will react differently on different days.
Nobody is "holding it against the bear."

The article is calling it a bear "attack." Given that they were hunting the bear, W.E.G. was basically saying that the bear was acting in self defense. Had he been in the bear's place, he would have acted in self defense as well and used to the tools at his disposal.

When somebody is trying to harm you and you defend yourself, it generally isn't considered an attack. It is considered self defense. By calling it a bear attack, the article and police have sensationalized the situation and made the bear out to be the bad actor in the situation.
It bit his face off, of course it was an attack. Are you arguing that we need to say the bear mauled in "self defense"? Bears do not have a right to self defense. The concept is a non-sequitur. If he had been in the bear's place, then this would not have been hunting but attempted murder. Nor do I see anything "sensationalized" about it. Attacks happen every year, sometimes worse ones than this. Attack is not a legal concept nor is the term assigning legal fault. It just means the bear bit and/or clawed a person. That's what bears sometimes do, esp. brown bears. Motives are difficult to ascribe. Sometimes it seems to be a clear case of maternal instinct. In other cases it may be the animal's blood was up over something the person did or something that had nothing to do with the person. Who knows. The bear isn't going to prison.

As far as the law is concerned, it's lawful to shoot the bear in DLP. Indeed in this case it would probably be legit to claim the bear as the prize of the hunt assuming they have their tag and are within the other provisions in this GMU for bear hunting. I remember past incidents where a lawfully taken bear that was simultaneously and coincidentally shot in DLP could still be claimed as a trophy.

If it isn't DLP or lawful hunting it's poaching. But in no case are we talking about the bear's civil rights. I see a lot of comments on the ADN stories from folks who seem to feel that the hunter had it coming because he was hunting the animal. They are ascribing a right of self defense to the animal which simply does not exist and never has.
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ADN has a lot of armchair hunters outraged because the bear was tracked with snowmachines. Bear densities up in that part of the world are something like one bear per 500 square miles. It's not like you're going to just walk 70 miles out into the tundra and bag a bear. Before there were snowmachines, dog teams did the work.
I'd call it par for the course that a bear hunter occasionally gets killed by the bear.

I wouldn't call it an attack. Seems more like a fair fight to me. Two combatants laying claim to the same turf, on penalty of death.

Its a noble way to die in either case.
It bit his face off, of course it was an attack. Are you arguing that we need to say the bear mauled in "self defense"? Bears do not have a right to self defense.

LOL, Cosmoline, nobody said anything about "rights," at least not in a legal aspect. Self defense was described in terms of being what the actions actually were. However, since you went there, I find it amusing that you claim that the bear has no right to self defense, yet we base so much of our 2A rights on natural law and our God-given rights of self defense. I guess "natural law" isn't as universal as claimed. Interesting.

The concept is a non-sequitur. If he had been in the bear's place, then this would not have been hunting but attempted murder.

No, because he would have been defending himself against a group of men trying to kill him. That is called self defense.

Attacks happen every year, sometimes worse ones than this. Attack is not a legal concept nor is the term assigning legal fault. It just means the bear bit and/or clawed a person.

Now that is interesting. You think the term doesn't assign fault, but you said it was obviously attempted murder. We get upset all the time when folks use the wrong words to wrongly sensationalize us as gun owners and hunters. "Attack" is in that same category. Sayng that it was a "mauling" as done in the thread title was appropriate.

I find it interesting that you think that because the guy's face was damaged, that it was an attack, as if the injury determined the type of action done to the hunter. Yeah, the bear ripped his face off. Bears often attack faces. They seem to understand that much of the danger from animals comes from the face. We like to have control over other people's hands, but bears like to control other animals' faces.

Interesting, the hunters tracked the bear for miles. Perkins with within about 56-80 feet of the bear that had bedded down when he stopped his snow mobile and opted to try shooting it with his camera and not his rifle.
Well, mauling also has a negative connotation. Should we refer to such incidents as "alleged attacks" or just go entirely PC and refer to them as "negative bear/human social interactions"?

The bear fought back, as they sometimes do. It doesn't matter what we call it.
Just one Never-Lived-in-Griz-Territory guy's opinion. Those bears have been the Apex Predators sitting at the top of the local food chain since before the Inuit's ancestors got there. That's still pretty much the way they see things, IMHO.

To paraphrase the words attributed to one Kodiak grizzly hunter's guide I once read: "This bear we follow, she is not afraid of us; she's justa shy." I don't really think that it matters much to them whether the thing that two-legged creature might be sitting on is pulled by an engine or a team of dogs, or if that object it's holding is a .375 H&H or a stone-tipped spear.
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