A Montana man hunting elk this week killed a charging sow grizzly bear that had closed to a distance of eight yards with a single, well-placed shot from his .30-06 rifle.
The incident was the latest in a spate of grizzly/hunter encounters in Montana this fall.
Carl Haggar, 54, of East Glacier, Mont., has no doubt in his mind that his one rifle shot saved his life.
The hunter said he stumbled upon the grizzly when he surprised it and a single cub near a gutpile in a ravine located in the Lewis and Clark National Forest.
With the bear about 20 feet away, Haggar told the Great Falls paper he began slowly backing up with his gun in both hands across his chest. He shouted “whoa!” a few times in a deep voice. The bear paused, but Haggar tripped and fell to the ground as he was backing up.
The bear, head down, resumed its charge.
Pardon the cliché, folks, but it sure sounds like “do or die” time to the old Newshound.
From the ground, Haggar pulled his rifle up with his right arm—while bracing himself with his left—and fired from about mid-thigh, hitting the charging bruin just above its left eye. The bear dropped immediately.
“It was an amazing sound,” said Haggar, recalling the bear’s heavy collapse, “because it was a lifeless sound.”
Outdoor Newshound regulars will likely remember the incident a couple of weeks ago when Montana bowhunter Roman Morris was injured by an attacking grizzly. Last week, a grizzly seriously injured pheasant hunter Brian Grand of Stevensville, Mont.
Wildlife managers say the latest incident brings the number of grizzlies killed by trains, cars, hunters and bear managers in northwest Montana to 23 this year, nine shy of the record.
In Haggar’s case, the state has already ruled the killing was justified.
And you can bet there’s a Montana elk hunter who will never forget one shot he took with his .30-06.
“I would have been killed if I hadn’t had a killing blow,” said Haggar.