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Hunting In Brown Bear Country: How Not to Get Mauled

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January 12, 2012
Hunting In Brown Bear Country: How Not to Get Mauled - 10

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In my last post I wrote about what sort of calibers are sufficient for brown bear hunting. In this post I'll give you some tips on how to avoid getting mauled while hunting among these critters. Here's the story behind my latest bear run-in, which came about last month while I was deer hunting Afognak Island.

It was the last day of Frank’s hunt, and he still had one deer tag to fill. The weather had finally broken, and we headed out to a spot that guide Luke Randall had a good feeling about. We rounded the long grassy peninsula, and spotted a big buck feeding through the grass. There was a pretty big ocean surge going, so Luke put Casey, Frank, and I on the beach to make a stalk while he stayed with the boat. As we closed in on where we last saw the buck, it suddenly appeared 15 yards in front of us, walking right toward us. Frank quickly dropped the buck in his tracks with a single shot. Immediately a brown bear came tearing out of the gully behind the deer. Luckily the bear ran the other way and kept his distance, but we took no chances, and got the buck back to the boat as quickly as possible.

Hunting in Brown/Grizzly territory can be hazardous. In this area of Afognak, hunters put enough pressure on the bears to give them a healthy fear of humans, but the Kodiak area is notorious for having bears that are actually attracted to the sound of gunshots. They often steal deer from hunters and this year a hunter was nearly mauled. A bear charged in and tore up his pack, but luckily he escaped unscathed. Here are a couple of tips for hunting in the company of these apex predators.

Always keep your rifle ready
Depending on circumstances, I will often keep a round in the chamber at all times in the field. When bears come, they come fast. Often, you will NOT have time to work the action. I know of a few guys who were mauled that didn’t have time to get one shot off, and one guy this year that barely had time to shoot from the hip at point blank. Fortunately he stopped the grizzly. 

Don’t get complacent
Often, in the excitement of harvesting an animal, we go blind to everything that’s going on around us. In places like Kodiak, this is the most dangerous time. Bears can be very sneaky, and the sooner you see them, the better the chance to avoid a confrontation.

Try to keep clean
I know as well as anyone that while packing meat, blood seems to get all over everything, but the cleaner you can keep your gear and camp, the less attracted a wandering bear will be. When backpack hunting, I like to stash my meat and anything else I get bloody a good distance downwind of my camp, as most bears will approach from downwind. This will keep them from tromping through your camp at night.

 

To see the full story of my hunt go to: Fishing, Hunting and Trapping on Afognak Island

Comments (10)

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from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Hi...

An interesting post, Tyler. And the video shows just how fast a bear can run. Humans wouldn't stand a chance trying to outrun one.

Your hints would make excellent reading for any bear hunters...good work...!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AKMarine wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Personally I like a 30 06 with 220 grain. I have had very good success with that. Living here in Alaska I have seen large game killed with a variety of calibers. A big factor is about shot placement with a weapon you are comfortable with. I once watched a buddy with a M1 308 empty 2 clips into a 1000lb browny from a treestand. The bear was 25-100 yards away and I saw every shot (10)hit that bear as it ran by us at broadside. That bear didn't even flinch. Then I have also seen them killed with one shot from a 44mag with 325 grains.

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Montanagyrene,
My last post was a feeble attempt at humor. Of course you are right about the timing of the event- needing the clean shorts afterwards. My thought was during the charge taking time to do the deed that requires clean shorts. ;-)
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Charlie, I believe JM's fresh underwear idea would take place AFTER the fact, and it actually fits in VERY well with rule #3, in my opinion...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

That new pair of underwear idea JM is a bad idea for the following reasons-
1.) Violates Tyler's rule #3.
2.) It would be distracting possibly causing a miss.
3.) If you miss and bend over to kiss your arse good bye ---
Well it just does not seem a dignified way to go.
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice tyler and congrats to frank for filling his last tag.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

I would need a new pair of underwear if a grizzly did that to me Tyler >.<

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Thanks Charlie, I would have to say that an ideal point of aim would be the nose just as JM said. A head shot is about the only way you're gonna drop him in his tracks. Since every charge can be different, my biggest suggestion is to stay calm and wait till you cannot miss. If you fire and miss at 30 yards, the bear will be on you before you an get another round off. If you wait and shoot it in the head or get any solid hit, chances are that it will give you time for another shot. Also, waiting will give the bear a chance to break off it's charge as they often do. I've only been charged once and the grizzly stopped at 12 yards...luckily for her, right before I pulled the trigger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Just a guess to see if I'm right : I'd aim for the nose(since the head bobs up and down I think thats best chance of hitting the chest or head.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Good advice Tyler, glad to see you put the rifle #1. After trying everything else the firearm is the most effective life saving remedy if the chips start falling the wrong way.
What would be your point of aim on a charging bear?
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

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from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

That new pair of underwear idea JM is a bad idea for the following reasons-
1.) Violates Tyler's rule #3.
2.) It would be distracting possibly causing a miss.
3.) If you miss and bend over to kiss your arse good bye ---
Well it just does not seem a dignified way to go.
later,
charlie

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Good advice Tyler, glad to see you put the rifle #1. After trying everything else the firearm is the most effective life saving remedy if the chips start falling the wrong way.
What would be your point of aim on a charging bear?
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

I would need a new pair of underwear if a grizzly did that to me Tyler >.<

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Montanagyrene wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Charlie, I believe JM's fresh underwear idea would take place AFTER the fact, and it actually fits in VERY well with rule #3, in my opinion...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Just a guess to see if I'm right : I'd aim for the nose(since the head bobs up and down I think thats best chance of hitting the chest or head.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Thanks Charlie, I would have to say that an ideal point of aim would be the nose just as JM said. A head shot is about the only way you're gonna drop him in his tracks. Since every charge can be different, my biggest suggestion is to stay calm and wait till you cannot miss. If you fire and miss at 30 yards, the bear will be on you before you an get another round off. If you wait and shoot it in the head or get any solid hit, chances are that it will give you time for another shot. Also, waiting will give the bear a chance to break off it's charge as they often do. I've only been charged once and the grizzly stopped at 12 yards...luckily for her, right before I pulled the trigger.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shires wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Thanks for the advice tyler and congrats to frank for filling his last tag.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

Montanagyrene,
My last post was a feeble attempt at humor. Of course you are right about the timing of the event- needing the clean shorts afterwards. My thought was during the charge taking time to do the deed that requires clean shorts. ;-)
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from AKMarine wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Personally I like a 30 06 with 220 grain. I have had very good success with that. Living here in Alaska I have seen large game killed with a variety of calibers. A big factor is about shot placement with a weapon you are comfortable with. I once watched a buddy with a M1 308 empty 2 clips into a 1000lb browny from a treestand. The bear was 25-100 yards away and I saw every shot (10)hit that bear as it ran by us at broadside. That bear didn't even flinch. Then I have also seen them killed with one shot from a 44mag with 325 grains.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Hi...

An interesting post, Tyler. And the video shows just how fast a bear can run. Humans wouldn't stand a chance trying to outrun one.

Your hints would make excellent reading for any bear hunters...good work...!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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