View Full Version : Cornered by a bear - where do you shoot

Mr. Pub
February 25, 2000, 01:44 PM
I was just wondering, if I was at a campsite and was cornered by a bear with no way out to run and all I had was a .45. Where would I shoot it. I would image in the eyes. I'm a city guy so I don't have any experience with large animals (except when I go to the zoo). This is hypothetical of course. You don't need to tell me that I should have a rifle or should run away etc. Just hypothetical. Thanks.

February 25, 2000, 02:12 PM
Since the bear would be most likely charging on all fours, head shots would probably be your best bet. Save one for yourself. :)

bullet placement is gun control

Long Path
February 25, 2000, 02:13 PM
Do a search on Senior Member Kieth Rogan, of Kodiak, Alaska. He got mauled a couple of years back by a big brownie, and is lucky to be alive. As such, he's made something of a study of what it takes to survive a bear attack. Check out his "Bear Maulings" website; fascinating reading.

He notes that most people assume that the brain pan is MUCH, MUCH higher up in the bear's head than it really is. This is why you hear about bullets "bouncing off" the skull of a big bear. Most likely, the bullets are actually penetrating, but are passing through a large sinus area in the skull that is nothing but air and bone. This ticks bruins off, and is deteritous to human-bear-interactions.

To hit the brain, aim for the spot directly behind the eyes. Don't aim for an individual eyehole-- just aim for the spot dead-center between them. This gives you your highest percentage shot of hitting the brain, and, according to Kieth's website, the Alaskan State troopers determined by experimentation on dead bear skulls that even the lowly .38 Special can penetrate the skull there.

Other than a brain shot, don't EVER try to shoot a bear with a pistol. You won't improve your situation, any.

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited February 25, 2000).]

February 25, 2000, 03:27 PM
Mr.Pub; In my neck of the woods (ne wash state) the bears are pretty small. They average 125 to 200 lbs. I hike and camp all the time with a glock .45 on my hip. I'm comfortable with that. I don't load it with some fancy hollow points. Just use fmj ammo. Eastern blackies, Grizzlies, or Alaskan Browns are a different matter! In this case I'd carry my rem 870 HD with slugs. Good Luck, j.s.

Randy Garrett
February 25, 2000, 03:45 PM
Mr. Pub:

If you have to shoot a bear with a handgun, target the end of the nose. Also, if you must use a 45, I assume you mean a 45 ACP, carry some kind of a flatnose hard-cast bullet. Whatever you do, don't use expanding bullets or roundnose bullets, as they tend to deflect or, in the case of the expanding bullets, fail to penetrate adequately. Although a bear can often be managed with a handgun, your use of a 45 ACP is definitely pushing the envelope.
www.garrettcartridges.com (http://www.garrettcartridges.com)

Mr. Pub
February 25, 2000, 04:17 PM
Thanks guys. The bear mauling web site was very informative. I didn't know that the bear's brain is seated lower in the head than a human's.

Hopefully I'll never be in this type of situation.

February 25, 2000, 09:35 PM
why is a bear attacking you at a camp site?
Other than an injured bear or a crossed momma bear, its pretty unlikely one is ever going to bother you. An improperly stored food supply is another story. It's not an african lion waiting to drag the unwary off to the brush.

Attack by a band of raccoons is more likely

In the lower 48 most black bears are chased off with some pot banging. Most charging black bear are bluffing you. In some parks they have found that charged hikers drop packs with food! If you are in bear country you need to be respectful and watch for signs. The clawed up tree trunks are a clue that you are not alone. People are not a bear's prey species, most bears eat vegetation & insects. I had one respond to a rabbit squeek and circle back on my deer stand. He snuck up behind me & when i turned he vanished.


February 25, 2000, 11:05 PM

While I agree with most of what you have said, there are several documented (even on film) cases where a black bear has actually stalked, killed and eaten a human being. Some of these "stalkings" have occured in improved areas such as campgrounds.

Even if there aren't any bears around, I would still carry a .45 for the two legged vermin.

February 25, 2000, 11:47 PM
its a little small, but on the off chance I might find myself in bear country I certainly would have my .454 with me. Some 45 colt loads for 2-legged and some HOT HEAVY SOLID .454's for bear. I can not run nearly as fast as a bear.

On bears attacking campgrounds, according to a special on the Discovery Channel or a similiar station; if a bear is invading your camp at night he means to eat you, seriously. That and they said leave your backpack on, it might save you from serious serious injury if the bear bites you, since they go for head and neck, hopefully they will have to bite through your pack before they get to you.


BTW, how about posting a link to that bear attack web-site for us people to lazy to hunt for it ourselves. :)

[This message has been edited by DaHaMac (edited February 25, 2000).]

Randy Garrett
February 26, 2000, 01:54 PM
I must agree with Ankeny. Although black bears are far less likely to attack than grizzly, they do occasionally attack people. Over the years we have had a number of customers attacked by black bears. Any notion that they do not present a potential threat is misguided.
Mr. Pub, I would like to reiterate my previous point. Since the best shot for stopping a threatening bear is one that destroys the central nervous system, make sure you are carrying a deep penetrating, non-expanding bullet in your 45. Also, if by 45 you mean 45 ACP, perhaps you should consider acquiring a handgun capable of sigificantly deeper penetration, as the 45 ACP is notorious for its lack of penetration.
www.garrettcartridges.com (http://www.garrettcartridges.com)

Robert the41MagFan
February 26, 2000, 05:10 PM
Hey Randy,

Heard that your legislature is considering a bill that would allow the use of dogs again. Is it for bears and cats or cats only?


Randy Garrett
February 26, 2000, 06:52 PM

They are trying to get hound hunting back for cats, not bears. Our cat population is way up since the ban on hunting them with dogs.
www.garrettcartridges.com (http://www.garrettcartridges.com)

Robert the41MagFan
February 26, 2000, 09:14 PM
The cat population here in Oregon is also increasing, but believe this or not. When they outlawed dogs for hunting bear and cats, it was done by changing our state's constitution. So now the state is having to resort to year round cougar hunting. Don't know how they are going to succeed, cougars are usually targets of opportunity during deer and elk season.


Futo Inu
March 3, 2000, 06:14 PM
I would only add that I have heard that since the angulated forehead of a bear could cause a slower/lighter bullet to ricochet of the skull bone, it is better to aim a tad lower, directly at the nose, so that the bullet has an entry into the brain cavity not blocked by hard bone.

Covert Mission
March 4, 2000, 02:08 AM
For fascinating reading, pick up the book "Mark of the Grizzly", by Scott McMillion. ISBN# 1-56044-636-6 (Falcon Publishing, Helena MT)

It is a compilation of true stories or recent bear attacks. It will convince you totally that you never, ever want to be mauled by a bear. (Duh!)