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On 29 July at about 4 p.m. Kim Woodman [above] was attacked by a sow brown bear at Humpy Creek, (Alaska). Kim had a GLOCK 20 10mm pistol with him, loaded it HPR 10mm 180 grain JHP ammunition made in Payson, Arizona. Kim shot the bear as it charged. Mr. Woodman was kind enough to grant me an interview.

Kim was born in Alaska and is 57 years old. His father homesteaded in the state in 1938, one of the first bear guides in the region. Kim has spent nearly all his life in Alaska, spending a few winters in Nevada going to high school. He’s very familiar with bears and how to deal with them. He’s encountered many bears on a lot of creeks.

I have been in that situation a lot, you are going up a creek, you see a bear, you back up.

Generally you can back out, and the bear will just slink off.

On Friday, the 29th of July, Kim decided to take a day hike up Humpy Creek– hiking up the creek instead of following the trail. He didn’t expect trouble. Almost as an afterthought, he placed his GLOCK Model 20 10mm pistol and a box of ammunition in his day pack.

I was just moving up Humpy crick there, I had just thrown the gun in my pack.

I saw bear scat, so I loaded the gun, with 15 rounds in the magazine, none in the chamber.  That is the way I grew up and was taught by my dad.

I put the pistol in my pants pocket . . .

You think it isn’t going to happen until it does. So it’s best to be prepared.

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Kim didn’t want to shoot a bear. But even more, he didn’t want to be mauled. As Kim puts it:

I didn’t want to be the guy shooting a sow with cubs.  But even more I did not want to be the guy mauled.

It was about 4 1/2 mile out from my skiff.  I had just downloaded an app to show topographic details. I used that to find the trail for heading back out. It was very thick. I did not want to fight the brush on the way back.

There was no cell phone service.

Kim was making some noise as he went up the creek. The cover was very thick.

There wasn’t a lot of noise, and I was not making a lot of noise.  I was busting through brush and mosquitoes and sweat.  It was a pretty ugly mosquito year.

It was just another creek with some bear sign, and the chance of meeting a bear.

That’s when Kim saw bear cubs and a sow.

I’m moving up this really thick stuff, too much fallen over the creek itself to go up it. There was a deep hole in Humpy creek, and the bears were in the hole.

The cubs and I saw each other first, across about a 30 foot opening. The cubs went scampering off and the sow saw me and came straight at me.

She had to come up a little bit of bank, that gave me a little extra time to make sure I chambered a round. I was shouting at her when I realized that I had to shoot. I let about three go, and then she was right on top of me.

I hooked my heel on  something while backing up and firing.  Thick alders and brush.

It wasn’t even like I was falling.  There was tunnel vision, concentrating on the shot.

I instinctively put my foot up at the same time, and snapping a shot off . . .

 

She was right up on me when I let go with the last round that took the tip of my toe off.

 Even if she had only got me for a few seconds, I do not know if I would have been able to crawl out.

Kim said he didn’t have a choice. The sow was totally committed. She’d made the decision to attack, and was in a full-out charge. Kim said that he clearly remembers shooting two-handed.

It wasn’t until the action had stopped that Kim noticed that he had hit his own foot while shooting at the bear.  He saw blood coming out of his boot.

Everything happened so fast, four seconds, and you are standing there with a dead sow, and I see blood coming out of my boot.

Kim chose to walk out immediately, before his adrenaline rush wore off. On the way out, his leg started to cramp up. That’s when he made the video of his booted foot with the hole in it on his iPhone.

Once he got back to the skiff, Kim had a 12-mile ride back to Homer. He tied up the skiff at the 160 foot landing craft that is parked there, walked to his truck,and drove to the emergency room.

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The final shot was very close. During his investigation, Park Ranger Jason Okuly found Kim’s sunglasses at the scene next to the bear’s body. They were only two feet from the bear’s head.

Okuly told Kim that they recorded at least three hits. One in the left eye, one in the mouth and one in the chest. They didn’t look too closely because the carcass was bloated and stinking pretty badly by the time they were able to reach it. Okuly retrieved two empty cases and returned them to Kim.

The sow was eight years old, and about 400 lbs.

This was not Kim’s first rodeo. Twenty-four years ago, Kim was stalking a moose when a bear attacked.

I saw a moose out on the swamp, real early in the morning.

I heard something behind me, and it was padding up on me. I had a bear tag, but I wanted a moose first. I had just enough time to swing the rifle around. I yelled at it, and got a real aggressive response. There were a lot of problem bears around, a bad berry year, a guy had gotten eaten by a bear.

The bear was so close that Kim couldn’t use the scope on his .338 Winchester Magnum. He sighted down the side of the barrel. The bear was coming at him, but not full out. It was only 15 feet away when he shot.

The bear went down as if he had scrambled its brains, but the bullet had gone through the muscle alongside the skull, just nicking the bone. It knocked the bear out. Kim thought it was dead.

All of a sudden I heard a growl, so I went back in there, obviously you can’t leave a wounded bear around. It was whirling in a circle, tearing out chunks of the tundra.

I stuck the barrel up against its neck, and the 250 grain .338 did not make it out the other side of its neck.

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Kim said that he’d learned lessons from the recent bear shooting. He’s going to buy a holster or two. He’s going to practice not backing up, and shooting rapidly. He says that in a crisis, you act as you’ve trained to act. He also said that when you are around bears a lot, familiarity can cause you to lose the healthy respect you need to survive.

Very few people have to kill two bears in self-defense in their lifetime. Kim does not view it as something to aim for. It was a necessity of survival.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Gun Watch

96 Responses to Exclusive Interview With Kim Woodman: 10mm Bear Gun Guy Who Shot His Toe Off [Graphic Video]

      • That bullet might be a good choice for medium game like deer. The consensus that I seem to hear is that a 180 grain hollowpoint bullet is a poor choice for dangerous game because hollowpoints lack the ability to penetrate.

        If I were carrying a 10mm semi-auto in bear country, I would carry 200 grain hardcast lead bullets with large flat meplates which should exit the barrel around 1300 fps when loaded to full pressure. That bullet construction will:
        (1) penetrate bone (including a bear’s thick skull) without deflecting or changing shape
        (2) make something like a 1 inch diameter permanent wound channel (hole) in the critter
        (3) push at least three feet through the critter

        When you think about it, those are the attributes of a “perfect bullet” for game … as long as you are only shooting at close range since the large flat meplate means the bullet slows RAPIDLY as it flies through the air.

        • Actually, my experience is that the expansion of XTP bullets isn’t nearly as dramatic as self defense hollow points. For example, just playing around out back with my 9mm handloads, it takes two gallon jugs of water to stop a Gold Dot, but an XTP stops in the fifth. These are loaded to about the same velocities. If anything they act like a soft point rifle bullet. Not saying that’s good or bad just some perspective.

        • If you had a pinned plastic tip, staked in a pin-cavity on the flat meplatted round, you would not get (as much) velocity loss. You might have better feeding characteristics, and, at the shorter ranges, should not be effected (much) stability-wise by moving the center of mass, back within the center of form.

          Either way, the proper ammunition will not prevent you from shitting out your entire body weight, should you have a bear encounter that causes the need for it.

        • It killed the bear did’nt. Always someone Monday quarterbacking who probably never shot a bear with a pistol.

      • I’ve run the HPR FMJ 10mm though my glock. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely not a full power 10mm load. it’s hotter than the Remington UMC, but lighter than the Sig Elite, which I think is the closest you’ll get to a real 10mm in a factory load. For woods duty, I carry the Underwood 220 grain hardcast, which they advertise as 1200 FPS from a full size glock. It’s a nice round, and surprisingly seems to have less felt recoil than the Underwood 165 “gold dot” round which is advertised at 1400 fps. Mind you, I am running a G29 with a lone wolf 4.6 in extended barrel to get to G20 barrel length, and a 21lb Wolff non-captured recoil spring setup.

  1. Sounds like one tough dude. I’m sure the keyboard commandos will come out again, but I’m impressed. The Glock 20 and 10mm auto worked pretty darn well, even if not carried in a proper holster.

    I’m glad he lived to tell the tale. Momma bears protecting Cubs are nothing to be trifled with.

    • I’d take serious issue with this guy’s safety/awareness matrix. He knows in thick brush you can quite literally stumble onto a bear. Just kinda tossed the gun in the bag – not a normal part of the kit hiking in bear country? Not in a holster? Even worse, no round in the pipe? I don’t know if he’s delusional like a buddy of mine who swears he’ll be able to rack the slide in an attack, or if he’s just gotten by on dumb luck all these years.

      The Alaskans I’ve met over the years are very aware that nature can kill you at anytime. That time is usually when you aren’t prepared.

        • Hokey-smokes Bullwinkle, “safety-awareness matrix” was a throw-away. A goof. As OP is a cop, he’s used to buzzword-salad. It was a slightly irreverent turn of phrase, one that cops are familiar with. The kind of things I have been writing on and off since pretty much day one of this website.

          So, once again, let me get your point. Going into a situation where you know it is highly likely you will encounter a threat, and not following basic, commonly accepted practice, instead relying on luck to escape the situation, that’s somehow ‘badass’?

          He’s lucky to have escaped, and he nearly didn’t. You do recall that he’s looking at holsters now, no?

      • It’s the same old tale with people who work in dangerous environments: at some point, lots of people become lax. Doesn’t matter if we’re talking machinists, welders, loggers, whatever. It takes constant work to maintain vigilance in dangerous environments.

        • Well said, sir.

          I know a guy who was reading a TTAG article when he was behind a stolen car. That particular individual was more ready to be going home than to chase a crazy chick. Oops.

          It wasn’t out of an enforcement stop, just a girl who ran out of gas on the freeway. She stole the car to buy weed, and if she spent money on gas, she couldn’t buy the grass.

          (And those Swiss are incredibly quick with bolt guns on 300m targets. I was impressed.)

        • Yep. How many times have you seen guys working on the highway standing by the cones while trucks go by at 75mph? I don’t know if maybe it’s a macho thing with those guys to act casual but an awful lot of them get hit.

    • Agree with the remark about the keyboard commandoes… They can talk about his safety awareness matrix and what not all they want, but this seems to be one tough cookie.. my guess is that most of them couldn’t walk a quarter of the distance this guy did without a hole in their foot.. eating junk food and commenting on gun blogs all day..

      • Soooo, Apparently you have never been in the woods, never been in bear country, never been to Alaska.
        I have been, and his behavior before the attack was sloppy at most generous. During the attack, well, he survived.

        The “keyboard commandos” are those who see not wearing a seatbelt, and being lucky enough to not die in the accident, as someone to be blindly cheered, rather than critiqued for not being prepared enough to wearing an effen belt in the first place.

        • It wasn’t my purpose to offend, for the record. I’ve seen and encountered bear in the woods with a loaded, Condition 1 Glock in the holster. That was before I got a .454 Ruger and then the .460 Smith. Sure, my Glock .40 would have been marginal against black bear. (Although I could run a lot faster than my girlfriend at the time, so there is that.)

          I guess my points are, and has already happened, that people will question his gun, ammo, and carry choices. The gun and ammo worked pretty darn well. The carry choice didn’t. I think Mr. Toeless has learned a lesson etched in his mind better than a million keyboard comments ever could. Also, he actually stopped a bear charge or two.

        • 16v, your entitled to your opinion but how many people you know that are not police officers that have shot themselves with one up the tube. Happens all the time. Police officers carry one up the tube because they are in constant hazard occupation. Joe citizen that carries a handgun a couple times a year and maybe shots it just a few times because ammo is so expensive runs the risk of an A D. I taught my son’s to carry with an empty chamber also. My view is better to be safe then sorry, unless your in combat. My advice is like Kim’s dad, only takes a second to crank a round in the chamber. And in the case of conceal carry, Mr. Shitbird knows your serious when you crank one in the tube, instead of accidently shooting yourself from an adrenaline rush.

        • Acur81, I knew what you meant, as you can see, that brings out the SJWs with cries of keyboard commando.
          My point was as DG’s, he got careless, got in trouble, and got really lucky to escape it. This is a cautionary tale that you remind your kids about the time daddy was a tool and almost got himself killed. It is not the story of anything heroic, and were it me, I’d certainly not repeat it to anyone that I didn’t know really well. Who would all tell me what an idiot I was.

          HoleyMoley, You’re free to carry however you like. I do hope for your son’s sake learns better if he CCs. Time to rack the slide? Put down the action movies Mr Bourne. Never been on the wrong end of the handle at even 20 feet. let alone closer I’m sure. If you’ve ever been drawn on at all. You may as well be carrying a paperweight, without one in the pipe. The BG will be in your face long before you clear leather and get racked (presuming you rack it right and don’t jam it, which often happens racking in pressure situations), let alone point that weapon (you ain’t gonna aim). In a street confrontation, one is very lucky to be able to draw, safety-off, and point. I do hope you never have to learn how wrong you are, more importantly, I hope your kid finds out better before he pays the price for your dangerous advice.

          Unless you carry a SAA Colt, in which case you have even larger issues to deal with.

        • Plenty of time spent in the woods here my friend, and yes, I have taken two bear in my lifetime, one with a rifle, one with a bow.. My point is, is that I’m pretty sure this fellow has learned a hard lesson, so what is the point of pointing out obvious mistakes? Sure we can learn from it, but armchair quarter backing it for me doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose

        • The point is that this is a tale of base stupidity, or at most generous, extreme carelessness, not something remotely resembling heroic.

          That’s my problem with the whole thing in a nutshell. He should be the object of critical scorn and ridicule – gun was almost an after thought in bear country, only a small cal handgun, not in a holster, nothing in the pipe. He was amazingly lucky to live through this, he made horrible choices all along the way, and that should be the takeaway from this. He’s no badass geezer, he’s an old man who’s judgement is apparently compromised to the point that he makes really fundamental, simple, mistakes that should have gotten him killed – but he got really lucky.

          I’m 50. I know exactly what my friends (of similar age anyway) would say if I did something so frakkin’ bone-headed.
          “You’re lucky it was only a toe eff-wit. Bear country with a pop-gun handgun? Couldn’t bring the Casull, or a rifle like a sane man? Or…” They’d roast me alive. As they should.

        • 16V, let me know when you go to the hospital for accidentally shooting yourself. I’ll send you a get well card.
          Oh yes, while you were watching for the boogy man behind every corner.

  2. He was lucky that the dripping blood didn’t attract more bears. Nice shooting there Kim glad you made it out alive.

      • Vhyurus,

        Everything that I have read says that brown bears are quite interested in blood because bleeding means a wounded or dismembered animal in nature — which usually means a meal. I have also read that brown bears can smell blood up to 10 miles away or something like that.

        So, yes, leaving a trail of blood as you walk and having fresh blood-soaked clothing as you go is a serious liability in brown bear country.

  3. Two important lessons here.

    1. If you’re carrying a sidearm, carry in condition 1 and in an easily accessible holster.
    2. Carry an IFAK. This guy was dead lucky that he was able to walk out with a hole in his foot without treatment.

    • In retrospect will still not have one in chamber. Know of more gun accidents than maulings. Will have hard cast buffalo bore 220 though. Actually after using several types of holsters the pocket is not a bad option for certain situations with the glock.

  4. Some friends from church videoed a bear on their vacation a few months ago and posted on Facebook. All I could think of was a guy I met years ago who got tackled of a motorcycle and mauled, well beat up pretty badly at least, by a sow. Horrible luck. The guy’s bike had been wrecked by a falling tree branch in a storm heading home from Sturgis. Then he takes the a demo from the dealership for a spin while they’re looking at his bike and gets mauled. And he road it back to the dealership!

    • “And he road it back to the dealership!”

      He rode a bear back to the dealership … no wonder the bear mauled him!!!

  5. Wow.
    Glad Kim is alive and well to tell this story. Coulda been a lot worse.
    The creek my buddy and I fished up there had 13 bears within a quarter mile of where we stood. You literally could not take 3 steps in any direction without dodging bear scat.

  6. Attention keyboard warriors. Please before it is too late all of you get your gear together, buy airline tickets, and purchase appropriate licenses. With the obvious wealth of knowledge being demonstrated here we should be able to find Bigfoot, Megaladon, The Jersey Devil, and a Poopanparina.

    Once those simple (simple for the elite found among these ranks mind you) tasks are complete break in to two groups. Some of you will go to Accuracy First so you can show Todd Hoddnett how it is really done. The other half of you will find Jerry Miculek and give him a thorough run down of proper technique and form.

    Come folks, this guy in this article has walked more miles, shot more game, climbed more hills, landed more planes in crosswinds, canoed, swam, foraged, and staked more camp sights than 98% of you. So please one of you write a story and make a video demonstrating your greatness so the rest of us mortals can just once see true greatness.

  7. I have nothing to add except this is one badazz dude. Yeah keyboard commando alert. Any fallout from the animal “rights” wackos?

  8. He packed adequate firepower, he killed the bear and lived to tell the tale, anybody critiquing his performance is nothing short of a dumbass.

    • There is nothing wrong with critiquing his response and seeking better preparedness for our own adventures in the woods.

      In total it looks like Mr. Woodman became complacent and committed four primary errors:
      (1) He carried his handgun in a pocket.
      (2) He carried his handgun without a round in the chamber.*
      (3) He carried hollowpoint bullets in his handgun.
      (4) He was too quiet as he moved through the forest.

      * Since Mr. Woodman did not have a holster for his semi-auto handgun, he actually made the right choice carrying it without a round in the chamber. Of course a far better configuration is to have a holster that fits the handgun property (and thus covers the trigger) so that you can carry it in the holster, readily accessible, with a round in the chamber.

      Fortunately we have an opportunity to learn from Mr. Woodman.

      When I go into the forest in (black) bear territory, I have a .44 Magnum revolver in a holster on my off-side/chest. I keep cartridges in all six chambers of the cylinder and I carry stout 240 grain semi-jacketed soft point bullets. The soft point bullets provide modest expansion and deep penetration for seriously debilitating terminal ballistics on tough animals. Given the diameter, mass, and velocity (out of a 6+ inch barrel), I am guardedly optimistic that a single shot is all that is necessary to promptly stop an attacking black bear. And if a single shot is not adequate, I have five more rounds available.

      Note: I carry 240 grain soft point bullets when I expect black bears to be about 350 pounds or less. If I have any reason to even think that I may encounter 500+ pounds beasts, I move up to 305 grain hardcast lead bullets.

      • Your right it’s about looking back and learning. For black bear the same amo I would be comfortable with again. In defiantly known brown bear country, like Kodiak where I’m headed today, it’s 220gr buffalo bore. As far as one in the chamber ,even with the right holster, still not happening. Know of more gun accidents than maulings. Goes for almost everyone I know up here. Especially the old timers. After picking up a Couple of holsters I’m still comfortable with the pocket option at certain times.

    • Offering criticism doesn’t automatically make someone a dumbass, rather it can offer evaluations that others can learn from and may often demonstrate if certain methods/criteria/ideas are valid or not, e.g., having a proper holster for bear country. This individual was successful -as in he survived the encounter- but as he freely admits, he made mistakes and it is not out of line for anyone to comment on them. Lessons learned from experience should be discussed, both positive and negative aspects and any critiques should be freely discussed.

    • Hank,

      I hear that some bullet designs do not have enough structural integrity to hold the bullet together on extremely close shots so they “grenade” … meaning they break apart into small pieces of shrapnel that fail to penetrate very far. That could be the case here where a .338 Magnum bullet was unable to pass through the bear’s neck at point-blank range.

      • Yeah, if he was hunting for moose he may have been using a bullet that was not meant to go deep into a brown bear. Either way it shows you how strong a grizz can be. He has used up at least 7 of his 9 lives.

    • I saved the bullet for quite a few years, it mushroomed and held together as designed. Found it just below the hide on the opposite side of entry. No waist of foot lbs on that one.

  9. Weak post.

    I see *graphic video* in the description, and all i get is a video where I can barely see the entry wound and some blood leaking out of the boot.

    See if you can get Mr. Woodman (what an appropriate name!) to send pictures of his mangled foot.

    • Why, you want to be shocked? Want some pictures of some dead babies to? For christ’s sake, what’s the matter with you people!

  10. After reading this article, for the first time ever, I have an urge to buy a Glock. And not a 9mm one.
    Incredibly good shooting, and near-perfect efficacy.
    Two good head shots and a chest shot, on the move, and in imminent, really imminent, danger. Outstanding performance.

    • If you want semi auto firepower, 10mm isn’t a bad choice, but also consider getting the glock 21 or XD .45- then getting the parts to upgrade to a .460 Rowland. That’s a very powerful round.

    • “Two good head shots and a chest shot, on the move, and in imminent, really imminent, danger. Outstanding performance.”

      That’s what I’M talking about. Badass.

  11. Some people have to stick their hand in the fire to learn not to… But, this guy already got burned once and still just had an unloaded gun in a bag…
    Always question your opinions.
    Previously attacked by a bear with mere seconds to act and caught in the same situation again and not ready. I hope everyone doesn’t need 2 bear attacks to revise their strategy..
    Daddy taught me to keep an empty chamber. How many striker fired pistols did daddy grow up with..? Though, if you’re ignoring the obvious necessity of a holster and you keep a glock in your pocket then empty chamber is best, but that’s a long string of stupid to excuse an empty chamber…

    • Yep, and you are they type that carries backup pistol in an ankle holster and a Bowie knife on your belt and 50 rounds of ammo waiting for the boogie man to jump at you from every corner? Get a life, buckwheat.

        • Please go back to Soldier Of Fortune and your box of kleenex, you officious little prick. Consequences indeed do have actions; you were the hall monitor in school so the other kids picked on you. Such a judgmental puff of air.

        • Actually, I was the class clown, who had great fun pointing out the stupidity all around.

          Just like now.

          Still the same pathetic retorts from someone who apparently has no idea how things actually go down, and no idea what normal people do when walking through bear country.

          You’ll make something a tasty snack.

  12. Best reason I’ve seen yet to shoot your own toe off.

    What are the chances that he shot his toe off in a negligent discharge and then found a bear and staged the whole event so he’d have a better story to tell kids who see him in sandals?

  13. All I can say is that once you’ve seen a bear butchered and a pile of rifle bullets pulled out of it that hadn’t managed to kill it 10mm doesn’t seem like the right gun for the job.

      • No you can’t. I can tell, You’ve never been hunting a day in your life, and only read internet stories about hunting.

        • Yeah, well, if it holds still for you and you shoot it in the eye from the exact proper angle you’ll destroy the medulla, so, there!

    • I have to agree with you here. It is on the “just enough gun” end of the spectrum. For hiking a 44mag with hot loads or a 454 casul is what many pack.

  14. I took my 1st trip to Alaska this spring to photograph Brown Bears. We got very close to some big bears. For me it got very intense, but the guide never took his spray out of his backpack. He was very calm and relaxed so it helped to calm me down. I knew if the bears wanted to take me out it would only last about 15 seconds.

    If you would like you can take a look at some of my photos here.

    http://troynemitz.smugmug.com

  15. Hi guys, just read through a few comments here and everyone does have a point to make, and thanks for the encouragement from some also. Here are a few comments looking back. A lot of people from Homer were surprised to find out I ran into a brown bear at glacier view park at all, mostly blacks are there and people hike all over without concern only 3/4 of a mile from where I was. Actually a few moose have bin taken down not far from where I live by Browns(part of my dad’s old homestead) but not everyone carries guns in their backyard.
    Felt fine with said amo thinking on the lines of black bear. No problem there. Having said that said I’ve stocked up on some buffalo bore 220gr and bin doing some “plinking” with it. Getting ready to take the landing craft mentioned in story to Kodiak and plan on beating some brush so will be thinking of brownies for sure.
    As far as a holster it helps but to be honest the pocket is not a problem with the glock. Bought a couple holsters and sometimes will opt for the pocket in certain situations. Still won’t be putting one in the pipe. Pull and rack is fast and much safer. Know of more gun accidents than maulings and this is in retrospect to the short notice last encounter. Not going to walk around 24/7 in the bush with one in the pipe, not thinking a bear is around every bush wanting to take me out. Every guid camp I’ve bin involved with would not allow the client to Have one in the chamber unless he wanted to take the lead. Sure, if you know a bear is on a gut pile or your hoping for one to come in on that’s a different situation.
    Also as soon as I saw bear scat I loaded weapon especially seeing it was brown bear.

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