Alaska: Hiker Kills Bear with AK-74

The bear truth about AK-47 (courtesy adn.com)

Shot placement, shot placement, shot placement. Failing that caliber. Failing that lots of shots on target. To wit: “The hiker, who has not been identified by Alaska State Troopers, had set out from the Rainbow trail head at Milepost 108 of the highway Sunday morning, said Tom Crockett, a park ranger. He was near the first Turnagain Arm viewpoint, about a half-mile up the trail toward McHugh Creek, when he spotted the bear . . . The man called, “Hey, bear,” hoping not to startle the animal, he said.  The bear turned and charged, the hiker later told rangers. The man fired the AK-74 he was carrying . . .

The bear stopped after the first volley of shots, and then charged again. The man fired once more. That time the bear folded into a ball, rolling and running downhill and thudding to a stop in a clump of birch trees about 100 yards from the trail.

newsminer.com reckons the hiker needed 13 shots to take down the 500 – 600 pound bear. Like I said.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

134 Responses to Alaska: Hiker Kills Bear with AK-74

  1. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    DGU of the month! WHY? AK in AK, that’s why!!

  2. avatarPwrserge says:

    Ha… In continental US we argue about the right to bear arms… In Alaska (or soviet Russia) you have right to whole bear.

  3. avatareric says:

    Does that fall under stand your ground? Better have Obama look into it

  4. avatarJimD says:

    Holy shit am I sick of seeing “to wit” in every friggin article on this blog!

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      To wit

    • avatarRalph says:

      Okay, then. No more “to wit.” From now on, it’s “half wit.”

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      Yes, but ‘to wit’ appears repeatedly. Still. That’s as likely to change as Miss Universe is likely to call you for a date. I agree that variety in one’s rhetorical tropes is a value as much as variety in one’s bedroom. Just sayin’. Laugh.

      • avatarRalph says:

        That’s as likely to change as Miss Universe is likely to call you for a date.

        Which puts Miss Universe into one of the least exclusive clubs in, well, the universe.

      • avatarCliff H says:

        Speaking of Miss Universe calling for a date – the policy of the bloggers as of recently is not to link to any more Isreali supermodels. Is there any rule against persons resonding to a post adding a link from time to time?

    • avatarThomasR says:

      How about “No wit”?

    • avatarseren says:

      Not to put too fine a point on it…

  5. avatarDrVino says:

    Well, the 30 caliber round of the ’47 can be a lot to handle for some….

    • avatarPwrserge says:

      74, so 5.45×39 not 7.62 :(

      • avatarJoeThePimpernel says:

        That was his point.

      • avatarMe says:

        The Hungarian AK 74 came in a 7.62×39… At least the military versions I fired while I was over there during a “cultural exchange” were.

        • avatarDrVino says:

          That might actually an AKM. The definitive change in the 74 was the 5.45×39 chambering.
          Many Soviet block satellites carried the ’47/AKM well into the late 70s/early80s.

  6. avatarJerry R says:

    When Jesse and Al find out that this was a black bear, we will never hear the end of this…..

  7. avatarWill says:

    If a 600lb bear was “bearing” down on me, I’d probably dump a whole mag on him

  8. avatarFrank Masotti says:

    Head shot head shot head shot. Should have solved the problem. No? :-)

    • avatarS.CROCK says:

      not that easy not that easy. aiming canter mass in chest area makes you far more likely to at least hit something. the hiker might have missed the first 10 shots if he was only aiming at the head.

    • avatarHannibal says:

      Might ricochet off a thick skull like that of a bear.

      Sounds like murder to me. Guy invites the bear over “hey, bear!” and then shoots him?!?

    • avatarRoadrunner says:

      Bears can run close to the speed of a horse, and the head would not be cooperating in your front sight. Who knows, though? After all those shots, it might have been one in the head that finally sent him rolling.

    • avatarwatchmenlewis says:

      bears have thick skulls not the wises of shot placements

    • avatarT-DOG says:

      Saw a video demonstrations of just this around 20+ years ago with an actual bears skull. Don’t remember what type of bear it was though. The point was that the skull was so thick that the only round test that didn’t ricochet off was a 12ga slug. The point they stressed was don’t take a .44 mag revolver with you and think you are going to stop a bear running at you with it’s head down. You needed to hit it in softer areas avoiding head shoots. They went on to say even mortal wounded bears won’t turn tail to get away. They will continue to come at you and attack. Then die while on top of you while mauling you. What I remember taking from the show was you were pretty much F’d if you used any thing other then a 12ga slug.
      This account of what happen sound exactly like what the show said would with the guy firing the first rounds and stopping the bear. Then the bear continuing the attack till enough well placed rounds stopped the attack. The biggest advantage the hiker had was distance between him and the bear.

    • avatarnDjinn says:

      With a brown bear it’ll bounce right off the outside of the skull. No enough mass in the round to get though.

      • avatarGERMANICUS 12 says:

        PENETRATION DEPENDS ON THE ANGLE THE BULLET HITS THE SKULL.
        IF IT IS AT 90 DEGREE IT WILL GO RIGHT THROUGH.

  9. avatarRopingdown says:

    The hiker might have been IN Alaska, but he isn’t likely to be from Alaska. A very light bolt action .30-06 with 200 grain bullets is a more usual local “light carry” item for big bear. The hiker shot to no avail, however, for he’s still going to die…of shame when his friends find out he was baby-talking to a large bear. Who the hvll calls out “hey, bear” to a bear in the wilderness? Obviously the bear thought he wanted to feed the bear. He almost did.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Who the hvll calls out “hey, bear” to a bear in the wilderness?

      He would have called out “hey, horse,” but he didn’t think that the bear would respond.

    • avatarGrasshopper says:

      Except that when you miss that first shot with your bolt-action (’cause you’re crapping yourself), you’ll be chambering that next cartridge just about the time the bear tears your head off. Semi-auto ftw here.

    • avatarJim says:

      Loudly saying ‘Hey Bear’ is a common tactic while hiking in bear country to alert bears that are close to the trail. The bear is more likely to vacate the area which can help keep hikers from coming around corners and startling it.

      This guy probably surprised the bear and reflexively tried to shoo it away by saying ‘Hey Bear’. Sometimes aggressive males will charge no matter what you do as well as mothers with cubs.

  10. avatarBob Wall says:

    Next up on “TTAB” (The Truth About Bears) – “What Joke Have You Played On Hikers That’s Backfired on You,” followed by, “Scat – It’s more than Jingle Bell Accents with a Hint of Pepper Spray, Ya Know”.

    • avatarSid says:

      I love when you get a new group of listeners and they really buy into the narrative and then BAM… punch line.

  11. avatarGyufygy says:

    If at first you don’t succeed, shoot, shoot, shoot again.

  12. avatarBen Eli says:

    Why was a hiker carrying an AK?Anybody else thinks that sounds weird?

    • avatarMick says:

      Probably couldn’t afford a .460 Weatherby???

    • avatarRandallOfLegend says:

      Even more strange that it was an AK74

      • avatarThe Original Brad says:

        They’ve been on sale from Classic Firearms for months. Plus you could still find ammo for them during the “Late Unpleasantness”.

    • avatarChris75 says:

      Apparently for bear attacks.

    • avatarCraig says:

      I’ve heard weirder suggestions. This is on one of my gun forums, and a guy suggested a “7.62 NATO autoloader.” So he’s suggesting carrying around a FAL, M1A, etc. in the woods.

      I think the AK-74, although not something I personally would carry, has its appeal because its light and can deal with most animals. Apparently including bears, as long as you don’t want to eat them after.

    • avatarMamba says:

      Since I’ve done the same when in bear country around here…..nope, not weird at all.
      My 47 has a folding stock and sling; a compact carry package.

  13. avatarimrambi says:

    Another instance were 10 rounds were….. errrr… never mind.

    The bear was upset about the Zimmerman verdict and was going to beat the crazy white cracker.

  14. avatarRandallOfLegend says:

    He should had just used his 45 ACP pistol. I heard that stops everything in one shot.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Last year at Denali a hiker took down a Kodiak with a 1911.

      • avatarRandallOfLegend says:

        I think there is always one story like that a year. Better hope you get to be the exception.

    • avatarsean says:

      My step father told me a story about a farmer that stampeded his water buffalo against him and his patrol in Vietnam. They fired everything at onrushing buffalo. Their M-16s, shotguns, and even a grenade from a M79.Most if it didn’t work. One older Sgt. pulled out his .45, aimed and shot them slowly, and carefully. All head shots. The buffalo all dropped.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Look, I know the 45 ACP is not a magic bullet but it is more lethal than 9mm and 40 cal. It takes a +p 9mm just to match the lethality of 45 ball. I have read what the FBI has to say and I have read what Army has to say with 100 years of combat data. I’ll go with the combat data. I do carry 9mm when that is the best alternative for the situation but my go to gun is my 1911 with my XD 45 as a second choice.

      And FYI, if you only have a handgun and encounter bear or other tough hided animal you better have ball loaded because JHP won’t penetrate sufficiently to stop a hard target like a bear. When I go into bear country I carry a 1911 but I usually have a 12 gauge, 308 or 30-06 with me as my primary weapon.

  15. avatarrhampton says:

    FWIW:

    Dealing with a ‘defensive’ encounter

    Sometimes a bear that feels threatened will ‘act’ aggressively to defend against a perceived threat. This is often the case with a mother bear with cubs, a bear defending a food source, or a surprise encounter. The closer you are to the bear when it becomes aware of you, the more likely it is to react defensively: it may pop its jaws or swat the ground with its front paw while blowing and snorting, and/or it may lunge or “bluff charge” toward you in an attempt to get you to leave.

    In this situation, the bear doesn’t want to fight any more that you do. It is simply trying to communicate that you are too close. Try to appear non-threatening by remaining still and calm. Ready your bear spray by removing the safety lock. Speak in an appeasing voice and back away, increasing your distance from the bear. Leave the area immediately…

    • avatarRalph says:

      Leave the area immediately … and change your drawers in the garage.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      ….”ready your bear spray”….. Riiight….. so this is leftist bear prevention? LOL

      The spray would just be a condiment as he ripped you shreds.

      • avatarThe Original Brad says:

        But it makes the lefties feel better and they don’t have to carry a gun, which might go off by itself and kill a child. Think of the children!

      • avatarGrasshopper says:

        Surprisingly, most of the higher CRC bear sprays are amazingly effective at deterring the attacks.

      • avatarBrian says:

        And if none of those things work try shitting/pissing your pants and as a last resort tell it you are on your period or pregnant.

    • avatarslow says:

      Bears are capable of running 35 mph.

    • avatarChuckN says:

      “…the bear doesn’t want to fight any more that you do”

      An unarmed human can fight off a bear about as well
      as as a tub of ice cream holds off Rosie O’Donnel.

      After quickly reading through the sit it’s obvious that
      it’s written by people who have either never actually
      seen a bear or are suicidal.

    • avatarModel 31 says:

      Sounds like the recipe for spicy bear poop.

    • avatarSertorius says:

      At the risk of asking the obvious, how does one know if it’s a “bluff charge” or an “I’m going to eat you” charge? Waiting to find out seems like flipping a coin where if you lose, you die.

    • avatarDr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      s/bear/Trayvon/g

  16. avatarRalph says:

    Hiker kills bear with AK-74. What the bear was doing with an AK-74 I’ll never know.

    • avatarRon Burgundy says:

      Used it as a tooth pick after munching another hiker that was carrying said ’74?

    • avataruppity serf says:

      Apparently alaska believes in the right to arm bears.

    • avatarkarlb says:

      Sort of like yesterday’s post: “A gun carrying George Zimmerman has been pulled over for speeding in Texas . . . ” (the mistake was not made by DZ but by the original author). One wonders why a gun was carrying George Zimmerman. Amazing the difference a hyphen makes.

  17. avatarLance says:

    Must have unloaded all 30 light 5.45mm ammo to kill a bear with one.

    • avatarTyler says:

      Article says he fired 13 times. Unclear how many of those rounds actually hit the bear. There is vid on youtube that shows 5.45X39 rounds doing a better job of penetrating trees than a 308. I was impressed. Military arms channel.

  18. avatarClay says:

    Why did he have to go for the kill shot? Couldn’t he just shoot in the leg or something?

  19. avatarwarriorshonor says:

    7.62×39>5.45×39

    None the less good shooting

    PS: Bears dont speak English “hey bear” not a good idea…

    • avatarLolinski says:

      You call out to the bear so as to not surprise it by accidentaly sneaking up on it.

      • avatarCA.Ben says:

        Which is why you should sing, whistle, or talk to yourself when hiking in bear country. Or wear a bell or two on your clothing.

        • avatarChuck in IL says:

          Out west they say you can easily tell the “good” bears from the “bad” bears. The bad bears have bells in their scat.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      Should’a tried “hey, horse!”

  20. avatarTrogdor says:

    It was about time someone took out that damn bear at Jellystone Park that keeps stealing pick-i-nic baskets.

    • avatarjwm says:

      Not the same bear. Peter Griffin got the basket stealer and he did it with a knife. Real men don’t need no AK74.

  21. avatarKY1911 says:

    That surplus ammo is hell on steel targets, but seems to work fine on bear!

  22. avatarJeh says:

    13 shots? Where did he hit it the legs? I watched my uncle kill a full grown brown bear with two shots to the chest using a 9mm. It doesn’t take that much.

    • The deal is that a “bear in motion tends to stay in motion”. …presumably until he stops for lunch (you).

      I would say that 2 rounds of 9mm would probably easily kill a bear if shot while standing or just goofing around, but once they decide to charge, they are very big, very powerful and very fast. I’m guessing that if his first couple of shots from this AK74 hit their marks, that is what killed the bear but who wants to take that chance?

      The very last thing I want the bear to hear is the empty mag hitting the ground and then the bolt dropping on a fresh one as he’s slipping into a coma.

  23. avatarZack says:

    Comrades, please, iz only weak American capitalist pig-bear, of course glorious AK-74 can defeat it, iz a glorious weapon of soviet worker!!!

  24. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Most 5.45×39 ammo is Soviet-surplus 7N6 with a 53 grain steel-core bullet. Penetration is very good for such a small bullet, and extreme tissue disruption is caused by the yawing and tumbling of the bullet once it enters a resistant medium.

    Afghan Mujahedeen called the 7N6 the ‘poison bullet’ because of the exceptionally high mortality rate among those who were struck by the Soviet bullets.

    I don’t think any expert would recommend an AK-74 for Alaskan bear defense, but this demonstrates that the round has *just* enough penetration and wounding capacity to get the job done with repeated hits. The noise and pain caused by even non-critical hits clearly slowed the bear down, giving the shooter extra time to fire more shots and eventually bring the bruin down.

    Even the best shooter can’t guarantee a critical hit the first time, every time. Resilient targets often need multiple hits, and a high-capacity modern firearm is much more forgiving of poor accuracy than a single-shot .458 Winchester Magnum.

  25. avatarwatchmenlewis says:

    i guess 13′s his lucky number

  26. avatarLucas D. says:

    Grizzly Man 2 is pretty hardcore, yo.

  27. avatarSarcasm says:

    If Obama had a son who were a bear, it would have looked like that bear.

  28. avatarSouthern Cross says:

    I was wondering if the bear choked on the AK74.

  29. We all joke about this, in fun, but, crap! Can you imagine? I’ve been attacked by dogs, bulls and men and it was pretty hairy but, the “Hey Bear Hiker” was just damned lucky he had that gun and mag. Of course, it could have just been the first shot (or the 7th or the 12th) that killed the bear and the rest missed. I’ve done a lot of hunting, ker dogs, deer, feral cats, etc, and a lot of times you shoot once and the animal takes off a lives for several minutes.

    I would like to know how many shots and where they hit just for the sake of knowing. Certainly, if it had been me, I would have checked to see which shot got him and how many times I missed.

    Hiker advice: Make sure you have your gun in the firing position before you say, “Hey Bear…”

    • avatarPeterZ in West Tennessee says:

      “Certainly, if it had been me, I would have checked to see which shot got him and how many times I missed.”

      Be kind of tough to spot a 5.45 mm hole in a bear. And rolling it over to look for more holes would be a real bear.

  30. avatarArdent says:

    It’s sort of been said but not with finality. What happened here is that the heavy bullets only for bear defense myth was shattered. Predictably, a volley of high velocity steel core bullets killed the bear. Perhaps a couple of 9mm can kill a bear but it’s nearly suicidal attempting to replicate such a stunt, and the 12ga slug is still great bear medicine but is anyone actually surprised that a hosing with an AK-74 proved fatal? Despite the size and power of the animal it too has a cardiovascular system that behind it’s bone and dense muscle takes damage like anything else, with the same result.
    Something else to consider: While the AK-74 may or may not penetrate a large bears skull, repetitive hits from it even though deflected have to be something like the experience of having a heavy weight fighter give you his best punch, over and over, rapidly.
    Bears may be tough but they are flesh and blood.

  31. avatarGrumpy in Kali says:

    He saved the pick-a-nic basket!

  32. avatarOut_Fang_Thief says:

    And how many times has some liberal Congress critter told us all;
    while holding up an AK-47 or AR-15 as an example, that these kinds
    of “assault weapons” have absolutely no use for hunters or hunting?
    Granted, this guy wasn’t hunting bears, but judging by the outcome,
    they seem more than capable of bring down a large predator. If this
    guy had only a 10 round mag. like the anti-gun people are asking
    for, this guy could have been the one who died. Which one of those
    13 shots made the difference in this story? Shots 1-10 or one of the
    last 3? Try this on for a title. Man shoots charging bear 10 times,
    but dies trying to change out another 10 round capacity magazine?

    Do we need a DAWUOTD (Defensive Assault Weapon Use OTD?)

  33. avatarBuster says:

    Why didn’t he just fire 2 blast from his double-barreled shotgun rather than taunt the bear…? WTH?

  34. avatarPuyallup Devil_Doc says:

    Ak in 7.62×39 will drop a black bear in one shot. All things being equal, nothing is equal. To wit, shot placement…

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