When Grizzlies Attack

A backpacker in Denali shot and killed a grizzly, as Arma Borealis reports, and goes into more detail about grizzlies and stupid commenters. This wouldn’t have been possible before the change in the law, as Denali was not one of the Alaska parks that allowed carry under the old regime.

12 thoughts on “When Grizzlies Attack”

  1. Of course he shot him 9 times….he didn’t have 10 rounds.

    But, my choice for Griz country is a big slow rifle round like the .45-70, or maybe a 12 gauge with slugs.

  2. When I am in Alaska, Montana, Idaho & Wyoming fly fishing I always have my 44 Magnum Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan (http://www.ruger.com/products/superRedhawkAlaskan/models.html).

    For Ammunition I go with the Garrett 44 Magnum Hammerheads with 310 grain supper hard cast bullets (http://www.garrettcartridges.com/products.asp). Specifications:
    Velocity: 1325 ft/sec
    Energy: 1200 ft/lbs
    Taylor Knockout Value: 25
    Meplat: .320″
    Chamber Pressure: 38,000-CUP
    Sectional Density: .239;
    Trajectory: +2″ @ 50-yds; Zero @ 100-yds; -8″ @ 150-yds

    Read more about Garrett’s 44 Mag Hammerheads (http://www.garrettcartridges.com/44mag.asp),

    Garrett also makes a 45-70 round as well. if you are looking for a long gun round.

  3. I forgot one bit of data on my last post, a FAQ from Garrett Cartridges.

    Q: Are Garrett 44 Magnum loads really capable of handling grizzly?

    A: Yes, in the hands of a reliable shot. From a comparative point of view, our 44 Magnum Hammerheads provide far more penetration than the 300-grain NosIer Partition fired from the 375 Holland & Holland. Also, both bullets present an extremely blunt front end (meplat). Our 44 bullets also offer far greater security from bullet fracture or deflection than any expanding bullet. Since beginning production in 1988 we have had many customers defend themselves from grizzlies, and always our 44 Magnum ammo has provided super-deep penetration, generally to the hips on a frontally shot bear (even when the skull is engaged.)

  4. Does anybody think that my Ruger Super Blackhawk in .45 Long Colt would be enough of a gun to put down an Alaskan grizzly?

    I’m rather sure this same gun could fend off a black bear like those which are here in PA, but the black bears that I have personally seen don’t really seem all that tough to me as it is anyway.

  5. Garrett and a couple other manufacturers make heavy loads for the .45 Colt as well. I think the Spuer BH would be more than capable of handling them on a limited basis (which is all you’d want to shoot them anyway).

  6. There’s at least one study the USFS did about firearms and bear…http://www.scribd.com/doc/32370701

    It looks kind of dated, maybe there is a more current report. Anyway it says that a .458 Win Mag is most effective but they recommend 375 H&H

  7. From the Tongass National Forest website ( http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/tongass/forest_facts/safety/bearfacts.htm )


    Firearms should never be used as the alternative to common-sense approaches to bear encounters. If you are inexperienced with a firearm in emergency situations, you are more likely to be injured by a gun than a bear. It is illegal to carry firearms in some of Alaska’s national parks, so check before you go.

    A .300-Magnum rifle or a 12-gauge shotgun with rifled slugs are appropriate weapons if you have to shoot a bear. Heavy handguns such as a .44-Magnum may be inadequate in emergency situations, especially in untrained hands.

    State law allows a bear to be shot in self-defense if you did not provoke the attack and if there is no alternative, but the hide and skull must be salvaged and turned over to the authorities.

    Defensive aerosol sprays which contain capsaicin (red pepper extract) have been used with some success for protection against bears. These sprays may be effective at a range of 6-8 yards. If discharged upwind or in a vehicle, they can disable the user. Take appropriate precautions. If you carry a spray can, keep it handy and know how to use it.

  8. The USFS study was with common commercial loads, they didn’t optimize for “bear defense” ammunition in any of teh weapons tested. Though, as you said, it is dated.

  9. Bull Moose,

    I absolutely agree with the forest service.

    1) Avoidance and being smart is the best course of action.
    2) Spray, if feasible.
    3) Shoot to stop.

    The vast majority of bear problems can be avoided by being responsible outdoors. And even if you CAN shoot the bear, I’d prefer to spray it if possible because it is probably more effective, less likely to piss the bear off, and you don’t have to skin a bear (and donate it to the state!) that you hit with spray. But, there are times when spray is not viable… And that is what the gun is for.

  10. Chris from AK,

    I carry bear spray when fishing in Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, as well as in the national parks in AK and the lower 48 until earlier this year. Everywhere else with brown, grizzly, Kodiak or Alaska brown bears I carry at least my 44 magnum Ruger Alaska. I have been close to bears when fly fishing and know how to camp and travel in bear country. the bulk of this time has been spent in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, where many streams are closed to fishing when the Cut Throat Trout spawn is going on, unlike Alaska where fishing is in full swing during the salmon spawn. Having a greater chance of a bear encounter in Alaska, due to being able to fish during the spawning runs, I prefer the 44 to spray.

  11. I can definitely understand that… Especially as on the water you often have a breeze. My wife and I like to have options so usually one of us carries spray and the other packs a firearm. The spray is supposed to be pretty effective when the bear is just curious as opposed to wanting to gnaw off your leg.

    I thought handguns were restricted/prohibited in Canada — do they have a hunting/fishing exemption or something? I haven’t looked into it in much detail, honestly.

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