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Pistol-packing hiker kills brown bear in sudden Chugach foothills attack

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by gunsmith, Sep 25, 2004.

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  1. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

    May 8, 2003
    Reno, Nevada
    Pistol-packing hiker kills brown bear in sudden Chugach foothills attack SELF-DEFENSE: Muldoon man credits reflexes, shooting practice with saving his life.
    Anchorage Daily News

    (Published: September 24, 2004)

    Muldoon resident Gary Boyd was walking his boxer puppy Wednesday afternoon along the popular "tank" trail in the Chugach foothills north of Campbell Creek when he heard something big crashing through the brush behind him.

    "I thought it was a moose, but then I saw it was too low for a moose," said Boyd, a former Army helicopter pilot and retired maintenance chief. "I just had time to pull my pistol and spin around."

    A massive male brown bear erupted from the forest less than 20 feet away, claws tearing up hard-packed earth as it charged toward the 57-year-old .

    The bear, later estimated at 750 pounds, had apparently been guarding the remains of a moose taken in a Fort Richardson bow hunt in the woods about 75 feet off the gravel track used by hikers, bikers and dog walkers.

    "I fired the first shot, and I aimed at its shoulders," Boyd said. "When the first shot didn't faze it, I fired the second time, and it turned into the ditch, and I shot three more times, and it went down."

    With one shot remaining in his .44-caliber Magnum revolver, Boyd called Anchorage police on his cell phone and walked out a trail to the end of Klutina Street to meet Alaska state trooper Kim Babcock. It was about 12:30 p.m.

    Babcock and Boyd returned to the scene and found the bear still alive but unable to move. Babcock finished the animal with a shotgun slug to the heart, while Boyd shot it in the head.

    The Alaska Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement trooper said she believed Boyd acted appropriately in defense of his life and was glad he had been armed and had the skill to hit the animal with so little time at such close range.

    "He didn't have a choice," Babcock said.

    Boyd, who has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, said he hasn't hunted in about 10 years, but always carries the handgun for protection and has practiced "a quick draw" over the years.

    "I feel terrible about having to kill it, but I tell you it was me or him," he said. "I'm glad the instincts and the training paid off."

    The incident marked the second time in a few weeks that a bear has been shot along the foothills of the Chugach Mountains by a hiker. On Aug. 25, Tudor Road resident Gabriel Winters killed a black bear sow that he said charged him near the tree line on Near Point.

    Through early September, another three brown bears had been shot this summer and fall in Anchorage. Four black bears had also been killed in defense of life and property, and two black bears died in vehicle collisions.

    This brown bear had buried the moose carcass under duff. Babcock said she confirmed with military conservation officers that the moose had been harvested and butchered last weekend and reported to authorities.

    "It was a legitimate animal," Babcock said.

    Military officers who came to the scene told Babcock and Boyd that the area would be posted and closed to further public access. The details could not be confirmed Wednesday evening with Army officials at Fort Richardson's duty office, military police, range control, game wardens or public affairs.

    The trail, which extends north from Far North Bicentennial Park through the foothills east of Muldoon neighborhoods, crosses land that Army officials say is off limits to recreation without permission. But residents and others regularly ride bikes, hike, jog and walk dogs along the trail every day.

    Boyd said he thought the bear had been reacting at first to his dog, a 22-month-old pup named Katie, as she ran ahead on the trail. Both Babcock and Boyd said they were amazed that someone else hadn't been attacked earlier in the day. It had been a big, mature animal, measuring 81/2 feet, a boar in its prime.

    "We hadn't had that bear dead within three minutes when 12 cross-country runners from the high school came by," Babcock said.

    "I'm just amazed that he didn't get somebody before me," Boyd added. "I see so many people back here that don't carry a weapon. Someone would have gotten hurt back here or killed."

    Daily News reporter Doug O'Harra can be reached at do'harra@adn.com.

  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
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