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Old August 4, 2005, 04:29 PM   #1
Lance5050
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Charging Bear Odds

Was watching one of those bear shows the other night and it showed a big sow in a loping charge - head down and kinda bobbing around. Made me think.....hypothetically:

If an average hiking Joe walks out into a clearing, wearing a fairly large handgun (lets say a .357 6 shooter, with one chamber empty for safety's sake)...and due to some very bad luck there are a couple black bear cubs about 30 yards away. Worse, ten yards further is momma bear and she's a big one. The cubs are between you and her and, worse yet, she has just had an encounter with a male bear and she's generally p!ssed. She takes one look and starts charging and her only intent is to maul - average Joe pulls his gun. What percent of average Joe's do you think could down her before she crossed the 40 yards?

Personally - I think I'd be in serious trouble. Plus, would it be better to start firing immediately or wait?

I know this will never happen to 99.9999% of us hiker/hunters, but I just wondered what others thought or would do?
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Old August 4, 2005, 04:34 PM   #2
DucksOnThePond
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I always heard shoot between the eyes ... but head down and loping doesnt give you much chance. plus my adrenaline would get to pumping and I would probably blast all five shots high. I think I would start blasting right away anyway. hypothetically, do you think if you shot one the cubs and he went to squealing a) would momma bear turn back to see about him and then come after you or b) come after you faster?
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Old August 4, 2005, 05:03 PM   #3
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I don't think that 99% of the people that are charged by a bear are going to stop the bear with any gun. they may hit it but they are going to be chewed on. there isn't any way that I know of that allows a person to practice on something that is running 30 mph straight at you
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Old August 4, 2005, 05:03 PM   #4
chemist308
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Average Joe: 5%,

Me: 85%.

One knee kneel or get down and fire off the knee. One or two good ones through the brain = dead animal
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Old August 4, 2005, 06:03 PM   #5
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40 yards? Thats my average hunting distance for bow and handgun. 99% chance that bear is dead with the first shot. If he is running head on at me, three shots max. I have hunted and been around black bears for some time, so they dont scare me. I can keep my wits around them and that is what will save me when armed with a 357 Mag.

As to firing immediately or waiting? If she is charging at you, I would aim for center frontal area and shoot as soon as I could get a sight picture. Black bears tend to hang there head low when threatening or charging, so an aim to the center frontal area would give you a high hit area in the head, chest and spine.

Now if it were a 600 lb Griz, I would pray on the run.
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Old August 4, 2005, 07:01 PM   #6
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I was in Alaska, with a friend who had shot a very large black bear with a .357. One shot kill - hit it in the little white spot on the chest.

After we had skinned it and were carrying the head/hide and some of the meat out we were charged by another very large black bear. One gun between us and Ray had it. I had an armful of dead bear.

I was in the process of dumping the skin and heading towards a tree to climb when I heard this blood curdling scream/yell sound. I stopped in my tracks and turned around (thinking I had a bear coming up my butt at that), and there stood ray, pistol aimed and ready. He had let out a rebel yell at the bear, which caused it to stop in it's tracks, just as I had.

The bear stood there popping his jaws shut (sounded like steel traps slamming shut), growling, hair on end, and swaying back and forth. I would say about 30 feet away, maybe a bit less. Ray yelled at it again, and it shook it's head and walked away, looking back occasionally.

That was the most cool headed man I have ever known. Had I had the gun instead of him I would have been shooting. He told me later he already got his bear and didn't need another one.
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Old August 4, 2005, 07:06 PM   #7
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if you shoot a grizzly bear at 40 yards in the lower 48 states the feds are going to be on you like flies on a pile of S***. they take things seriously about endangered species like grizzly bears. you almost have to have bite marks to get away with it
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Old August 4, 2005, 07:27 PM   #8
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Head shots on a charging bear ? The sloping skull can easily deflect the bullet. A grizzly can run up to 40 mph, you won't get too many shots !!!
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Old August 4, 2005, 07:55 PM   #9
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Let me clarify

.357 Magnum loaded with appropriate ammo = 180gr. Buffalo Bore LFN going 1390 FPS. Very unlikely, a black bear skull will deflect this load.
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Old August 5, 2005, 04:41 PM   #10
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I would also try to moving calmly but deliberately out of that line between momma and cubs to avoid problem, and if it charges, wait to see if it's a bluff charge, or if I can stop it verbally first, with gun in hand. Real good chance of that.

Once it gets 10 yards or so away, if it is still coming like a freight train, I'd get off a couple of shots and see if still coming, try to dodge the charge, matador style to allow another clean shot or two (if it is big and/or running flat out, won't be nimble)... would not let go of gun no matter what until it was empty. Shoot at throat, heart/lung, maybe even face if point blank... only take a headshot if have a hard cast bullet like the Buffalo Bore or Federal CastCore.

I think the average hunter would stand a good chance (say 90%+). I think an expert hunter would stand a 99%+ chance. But if it's a person who's unfamiliar with handguns who somehow is holding revolver, maybe 40% - many bear attacks are not fatal even with no gun.
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Old August 6, 2005, 11:49 AM   #11
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A buddy and I were out doing some scouting yesterday and looking down into a little box canyon heard some brush and branchs breaking at the head of it. Looking that way finally spotted a mama bear and a young'un making their way down into the canyon munching berrys and nosing around the logs and all. I'd grabbed my 357 that morning rather than the 44mag I usually carry and was feeling a little undergunned. Carl asked me if it'd stop her if she came after us. I told him she'd get the first 4 shots and if that didn't put her down,I'd have to put the last into his foot just so's I'd be sure I could outrun him! "Honest officer,he was kicking the bear when I was trying to shoot it!" He didn't see the humor.
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Old August 6, 2005, 12:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
I would also try to moving calmly but deliberately out of that line between momma and cubs to avoid problem, and if it charges, wait to see if it's a bluff charge, or if I can stop it verbally first, with gun in hand. Real good chance of that.
I've actually had this happen, and Cal's right. I was photographing a sow in Smokey Mts. Natl. Park (so no gun) and was maneuvering to get a better shot. I didn't see that she had cubs and managed to maneuver myself directly between her and her cubs. Range was about 20 yds. and she charged . Amazing how fast you can run when you have a bear nibbling on your backside . But seriously, as soon as I moved out of line with her cubs, she stopped the charge. Grizzly, though, have been clocked in excess of 45 mph! so you'd better be like Quick Draw McGraw with a .900 Super Casul if you've ****** off a grizzly!
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Old August 6, 2005, 01:40 PM   #13
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I am glad to see there are so many extremely competent bear shooters out there. I now know who to go camping with.

Sorry Steveno, whether it is in the lower 48 or in Alaska, the same rules apply. Also, they are very concerned with grizzlies in Alaska, not just the lower 48.

Even so, the grizzly, U. arctos horribilis is NOT endangered. It is currently listed as threatened.
http://ecos.fws.gov/species_profile/...le?spcode=A001

Plus, there is a "non-essential" experimental population in Idaho and Montana.

Most people don't know or realize the subtle differences between a brown bear and a grizzly and the differences are subtle. In fact, current taxonomy holds them as the same species, but different subspecies.
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Old August 20, 2005, 07:47 AM   #14
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Save the last shot for yourself!!!!! I was with a guiding service back in the 70's in Alaska. The gun I used was a 444 Marlin, and even then its fate. An adrenaline charged bear is only going to be stopped in most cases by a headshot and a charging bears head is a difficult target due to animal movement and the shooters horror filed shaking in most cases. People who have never been confronted with this situation tend to fire blindly, even seasoned hunters lose it in quite a few cases. I never recommend a handgun unless you are shooting from a treestand, a bullet can hit bone, not expand or not penetrate. This has even happened with rifles so with a handgun everything has to be going your way and with hunting anything especially bear one is in an uncontrolled environment.

I have been in a situation where a black bear dressed at 300+ pounds took numerous good hits from a 350 rem magnum and a 7mm Remington magnum and still ran over 100 yards. One of my shots was right behind the shoulder and the bear summersaulted, to my amazement it got up and kept coming! My last shot was at 50 feet with a 350 rem. mag before the bear went down. I had a fellow guide shoot a blackbear in his tent in the head with a Ruger 44 magnum, thankfully it went down. We had Ruger Blackhawks and used our own molded bullets we tested on old moose skulls, we experimented until we found a mixure that penetrated consistantly. I am fortunate that I can keep my cool when in crisis situations, maybe my military training, but I think either you are born with it or you are not. I am the type when its all over and it hits me I cant stop shaking or talk straight for an hour.
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Old August 20, 2005, 08:05 AM   #15
stevelyn
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There's nothing threatened about brown bears out here on the AK Pen or the rest of the state for that matter. There's one behind practically every alder bush.
Just in our community alone this year we have had four sows with three cubs each. That adds up to 16 bears in an area about 5 miles square. It dosen't include the 13 adults observed diggin' around in the dump.
I've nearly used up a box of steel shot running them out of the dumpsters around town.
Haven't seen any for a few weeks now. They're all out in the creeks eating fresh salmon. The fish will be done by the end of next month and we'll have to go back to blasting them out of the dumpsters until they den up.
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Old August 20, 2005, 12:53 PM   #16
CarbineCaleb
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Well, for all these tales about what went wrong - it's also true that Black Bear are frequently taken with a simple bow and arrow... and here's a photo of a 9 year old boy who took this AK brown bear with a single shot at 45 yards:


If this little boy can do that - why are you guys so afraid?

Reminds me a little of the "stopping power" debates for humans... there are always some stories of guys who didn't go down easy, even when hit with a big round. Doesn't mean people can't be stopped though - just need to have realistic expectations and realize that not every person (bear/deer/hog) is going to drop dead instantaneously.
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Old August 20, 2005, 01:30 PM   #17
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Black bears tend to be pretty small in comparison with other bears, especially females. We have a cottage in northern canada and I've seen many up close from the comfort of the cabin. a .357 would bring one down no problem, hitting it while it's running is the hard part.
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Old August 20, 2005, 08:07 PM   #18
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The simple solution to all of this is to make sure that you are with someone who is slower than you and all will end well.
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Old August 20, 2005, 10:01 PM   #19
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I would be willing to bet the 9 year old took the bear from a concealed location that was safe in that the bear probably had no idea that the boy was there and he certainly was not charging the boy as the boy was enjoying a pleasant day on the rocky beach, only to be surprised by the charging bear.

Is sure the heck it isn't about being afraid. It is about being pragmatic. Timothy Treadwell wasn't afraid, not until he was being mauled to death.

By the way, the AK brown bear in the picture is reported to be a Grizzly, not a brown, taken by Jason Jacques. "The end result is that 9 year old Jason shot a beautiful 8' 7" Grizzly with your 45-70 ammo. From 45 yards the 540 gr. bullet struck the bear broadside in the left shoulder. Breaking the shoulder, going through the rib cage on both sides and breaking the right shoulder, then exiting the bear. This was a devastating blow to a tough animal."

Of course it is a fine outcome, but Jason isn't your usual shooter and he was using substantially powerful ammo. Jason had been trained by his father, Jerry, who says he is a Master Guide in Alaska and a Licensed Professional Hunter in Africa. Jerry had been coaching Jason specifically for this kind of hunting (not self defense). He certainly was not an "average Joe" as specified in the original post.

The Garrett ammo used was the 540-gr SuperHardCast dubbed the Hammerhead that is loaded specifically for modern Marlin lever guns. This load produces 2880 foot-pounds of energy, and has a Taylor Knockout Value of 55. Penetration is supposed to be truly astounding. Then again, a lot of .45-70 ammo produces astounding penetration.

Here is where I obtained the information...http://www.garrettcartridges.com/reviews2.asp
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Old August 20, 2005, 10:37 PM   #20
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I don't know that it matters, but the brown bear and the grizzly bear are genetically identical. Usually, the ones along the coast (like Jason's bear) are better fed and so grow bigger, and are called brown bears, with the inland ones being called grizzly. They are one and the same though.

Yes, he was using a bear gun (the stock needed to be cut down to fit a hunter so small), and he shot well. But it's a nine year old boy, and on his first bear hunt, he recorded a one shot kill on a big brown/grizzly. They don't give a weight for it, but the bear dwarfs the little boy standing behind him.

What I am trying to say is, bears are not invincible creatures. They are also not that aggressive. You mention Timothy Treadwell. You can either take his death as an example of how aggressive they are, or how little. The guy did, after all spend 13 summers up in AK living with the bears, and would stand and walk among them, even touch them. He was half crazy, in my opinion. But the bottom line is, he got away with 13 years of that before his time was up.
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Old August 29, 2005, 01:20 AM   #21
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I believe Grizzly Bears are Brown Bears but not all Brown Bears are Grizzly's

I also believe that with all modern revolvers there is no reason to leave one chamber dry. That is an Old West safety precaution that no longer applies because of the transfer bar safety and others.

.357 would not be my first choise for a Grizzly handgun but it would work well.
I would shoot as fast as I could accurately. At 40 yards you might have only 3 seconds to draw and fire. You should be able to get 2 or 3 shots off if it is still coming fast you probably need to take careful aim and shoot one time and then run.

Hold on to the gun because it the bear catches you, you can still possibly do a contact shot to the chest or better yet head. People who say "save one round for yourself are either joking or stupid. I would shoot the gun dry then try a knife or beat the bear in the head with the gun. Never give up!
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Old August 30, 2005, 10:06 PM   #22
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Try this. Get dressed in your hunting clothes, pack and all. Go out to the range, and stop about 300 yards from your target. Now, to get your heart rate up to, "I've been jumped by a bear", run like the blue blazes toward your target, and when you get within 40 yards, draw and fire and hit the 8" pie plate 3 out of six. Yeah, right. The fact is, that this is not a hunting situation, it is strictly self defense. When the heart rate jumps to about a gazillion, and you are on the verge of soiling your didee, bears do that, you will not be accurate enough to stop a charging bear in time to avoid getting seriously hurt. If bear hunting was easy, everyone would do it.
So, use the old gunfight rule, which is, "The best way to survive a gunfight is to avoid a gunfight". If you're hiking, make noise. If you're hunting, take your chances along with the rest of us, but exercise normal care and caution. Been in the woods along wth Black Bears for over 35 years, and have never had a problem. Yet. One never knows.
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Old September 17, 2005, 05:58 PM   #23
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Hmm... well, a fairly normal human being will: 1) Run instantly, or 2)Shoot and then run.
That means that I'd have to take option 3) Drop any excess baggage - everything but the gun - shouldn't take long. Then take out the gun and charge the bear - blowing bagpipes if you have them (more shock value than anything short of a daisy cutter). If not, fire a shot or two on the run. If it stops or stands up to receive you, stop and shoot. If it keeps coming, keep two shots ready at least. Jump over the bear and shoot it in the back. If it starts to stand up as you reach it - within five feet or so, one shot to the upper torso (the bear's upper torso - they got 'em, don't they?) and slide under its legs, to shoot at point-blank range the spinal cord (pretty sure they've got that).
That's a hypothetical, answerable with another hypothetical - that I'm faster in reaction time, etc. than the bear. Which is why I'll be toting a military surplus rifle, prob. with a bayonet, when dallying across bear country. That or an armed guard - a really cheap one.
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Old September 24, 2005, 12:45 PM   #24
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It seems there is nothing to be done...

I wonder if it would help to stuff the gun in the sow's mouth and pull the trigger as many times as possible before she bites your hand off.

I think I would just dirty my pants and hope she thinks I stink too bad to eat me.

But, first, I'd empty the gun into her shoulder bone... and then die...
of a heart attack!



P.S. All Brown Bears are Grizzlies... same species. The biggest ones are on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Hence; Kodiak Brown Bears.

All Black Bears are not black... some are reddish or tannish or blondish and many are BROWN. These are all still Black Bears.
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