Joseph Kiedrowski was tracking a wounded elk in Montana when he was attacked by a grizzly. The bear chomped on his hand, then retreated. The hunter had a rifle, but chose to use bear spray instead. From krtv.com:
He put up his arms to fend off the attack, but the charging grizzly bit his right wrist. He threw himself on his back and rolled to his stomach so the bear would maul his backpack instead of his ribs.
The bear backed off and circled back into the brush, out of Kiedrowski’s sight, which he said gave him time to ready his bear spray.
“I got really quiet because I knew it wasn’t over yet… You could hear him huffing over behind where he originated from… and then all of a sudden it came around the exact same way but this time I was actually ready for him,” he said.
Kiedrowski sprayed the bear as it charged a second time, covering the bear’s face and getting some on his own as well. The grizzly shied away and circled back again.
As it came back a third time, Kiedrowski realized his bear spray was empty. With his face “on fire,” Kiedrowski threw the empty can at the bear, causing it to back off into the brush, he said,
Kiedrowski said the entire attack lasted about two minutes.
He readied his rifle and made his way up onto a ridge, where he had a better view of the surrounding area. He stopped to assess the situation and made a call to his brother, Zach Kilwein, who was about three miles away.
“I just got attacked by a bear,” he said to Kilwein.
“How bad is it?” Kilwein asked.
“It’s pretty bad.”
It is hard to know if Kiedrowski was carrying his rifle at the ready. Most hunters do so when tracking wounded game, but some do not.
Two months previously, a woman was mauled in the same area. Companions used bear spray to drive off the bear after the woman was chewed up. That mauling was close to the carcass of a cow.
Some people claim the bear spray worked exactly as intended. It saved the life of the bear. Even though the hunter (and earlier the woman) were seriously injured, requiring hospitalization, they survived, and so did the bear.
At some point the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) advised people to chose bear spray or a large caliber pistol. From KRTV.com, attributed to the FWP:
– Carry bear spray or a large caliber pistol, know how to use it, and keep it on your hip or somewhere equally accessible.
Some people carry both. If you have a rifle in your hand, it offers another option. That’s according to one of the major proponents of bear spray. From hcn.org:
Here’s the problem, according to Brigham Young University professor Tom Smith. In an interview with Sports Afield, he said, “If I’m actually out hunting and I have a gun in my hands, and suddenly a bear comes at me, do you think I’m going to lay the gun down and pick up bear spray? Are you out of your mind?”
We do not know how Joe Kiedrowski was carrying his rifle, or how he was carrying the bear spray. He did not use either in the initial attack.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.