Survival Animal Attacks

Best Dad Ever: Man Fights Brown Bear To Save Family, Wins

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Toby Burke, a wildlife biologist for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, was on a bird watching excursion along the Alaskan Kasilof River Beach with his family when they spotted a brown bear in the distance.

At first they didn’t think much of the sighting, and soon enough the bear disappeared among some sand dunes. But the bear reappeared at close range and started heading right for Burke, his wife, their 7-month-old baby, 8-year-old son, and 11-year-old daughter.

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_”We were raising our arms and made loud noises,” Laura Burke said. “That’s supposed to scare the bear away. Instead of running away, it came right towards us.”

“That’s when the bear bounded towards them and Toby Burke yelled to his wife, ‘Get behind me!’

Laura Burke, with her 7-month old baby on her back, grabbed her two other children to get behind her husband…

Toby Burke grabbed the first thing in sight: his scope attached to a 6-foot-long tripod.

‘I put the scope sideways into the bear’s mouth, keeping it away, and it swatted at the scope and severed it,’ he said.

The severed metal tripod left a sharp shaft, which Burke used to hit the bear in the face to scare it away. Yet it still didn’t seem to budge and smacked the tripod out of Burke’s hands.

‘It was just me between my family and the bear,’ he said. ‘At that point, I made physical contact. All I could do was put my left arm up. Then its mouth clamped down on my forearm. So I remember hitting it in the face with my right arm.’

After several minutes of scuffling, the bear gave up and ran away, and Burke managed to walk away with minor bruises and scratches.”
The family called the Alaska State Troopers immediately after the bear took off. The troopers eventually shot and killed the bear.

“We weren’t terrified only because we always knew it’s a reality when you live up here,” Burke said. “We knew this day may come one day. Mentally, we were prepared for that.”